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A Flaming Row In The Republic Of Letters: Claude Saumaise On Hugo Grotius’s Crusade For Church Unity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains how the Dutch humanist Hugo Grotius aroused the animosity of a colleague, the Frenchman Claude Saumaise, by pleading for church unity. It provides a survey of the reasons why Grotiuss unionism cannot be seen as an unfeasible illusion, but was considered a commendable aim, even by contemporary observers. The chapter dwells upon the lives of both protagonists by explaining how correspondences played a major part in the vicissitudes of their friendship. Confessionalisation made itself felt in the learned world, even in the seventeen-century Republic of Letters, where letters or live conversation constantly bridged national, confessional or cultural dividing lines. Grotius and Saumaise hesitated to discuss their views on church unity among themselves. Saumaise informed his allies of every detail of his quarrel with Grotius. By doing so, he enables us to see how the letter functioned in his personal campaign.

Keywords: church unity; Claude Saumaise; confessionalisation; Hugo Grotius; Republic of Letters



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