Zur Frage der Toleranz in der Epoche zwischen Reformation und Aufklärung
Keywords:Tolerance, intolerance, church, Reformation, early modern era, confessional era
This article deals with the origins of religious tolerance in the modern era. It goes back to the early modern era, when intolerance by the Roman-Catholic church towards new reformative movements showed itself to be particularly pervasive. At the same time, the Roman-Catholic church faced opposition from regional princes and free imperial cities who had become powerful and frequently tended to lean towards the new faith. They demanded the acknowledgment of the reformative faith by the pope and the emperor. However, they could hardly be called tolerant towards other faiths in their own territories, especially in the case of minorities seeking public recognition of their alternative beliefs and religious practices. Stark intolerance eased off only when tolerance functioned as an inherent political necessity, in hopes of gaining large economic benefits, especially under secular rule yet hardly ever under that of the church. The results from an international conference presented here show that tolerance in the age of the Reformation cannot be confused with the mutual recognition of religious and cultural idiosyncracies, in the way these are often claimed nowadays when advocating for a peaceful coexistence of different groups in a pluralistic society. In the historical context of the early modern era, tolerance was a one-sided act –in hopes of political and economic advantages – towards gaining a kind of freedom which, in its overall effect, definitely involved risks of conflict. In this context, differing political structures such as the personal beliefs of the ruling prince influenced the different climates regarding tolerance in 16th- to 19th-century Europe.