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Religious Wars At Home: The Problem Of Confessionally Mixed Families

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Chapter Summary

A growing body of historical literature on tolerance had already made the author aware of the extensive religious diversity in the Dutch Republic, where this story largely played out. Members of rival confessions lived quite peaceably side by side, a condition broken only occasionally by fits of violence, and up to half the people in towns such as Haarlem belonged to no church at all. The Dutch Republic accorded the Reformed Church a privileged status as the "public" church, and it did tend to regard Catholics as potential security problems. The largest possibility to the author is that of tolerance and conversion in mixed families. Nowhere else was tolerance tested more severely, nowhere else did theory and practice meet so dramatically, or affect each other so profoundly. An article by Barbara Diefendorf on families during the French Wars of Religion is one example of useful contextual insight.

Keywords: Catholics; Dutch Republic; mixed families; Reformed religion



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