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9 The Works of Bodin under the Lens of Roman Theologians and Inquisitors

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Chapter Summary

The reception of Jean Bodin's works in Italy and the Catholic world was characterized by the dark shadows that hung over him. First, the suspicion originating from the sources he adopted that he was a crypto-Jew seriously hindered possibility that his works might be freely read. Secondly, he was judged to be a politique, because of his defence of religious toleration. The critical attention of the Roman theologians was focused on arguments that favoured freedom of conscience, a concern that seems have emerged from their reading of the politiques. Prior to the wars of religion they had stressed the idea that heresy and, thus, a separation from Rome, had disastrous consequences both for the individual who would be damned. To support their rejection of any form of toleration, Catholic theologians and apologists pointed to the wars of religion that were raging in Europe, but not in Spain and Italy.

Keywords: Catholic theologians; Jean Bodin; Roman theologians



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