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The Expansion of Tolerance

The Expansion of Tolerance: Religion in Dutch Brazil (1624-1654)

Jonathan Israel
Stuart B. Schwartz
Introduction by Michiel van Groesen
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 60
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  • Book Info
    The Expansion of Tolerance
    Book Description:

    This volume about religious tolerance in early modern Brazil comprises two articles. Jonathan Israel, in his contribution, argues that Dutch tolerance in Brazil was unprecedented in the seventeenth century. Catholics and particularly Jews were given freedom of conscience and freedom of private worship in accordance with Dutch guide-lines. Stuart Schwartz, in his article, demonstrates that religious toleration in Dutch Brazil was not exclusively the domain of the Dutch. The Portuguese also widely approved of tolerance at grassroots level, accepting an individual's preference to follow his own path to salvation. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0155-7
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-5)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 6-11)
    Michiel van Groesen

    Tolerance in the early modern Dutch Republic is a topic that has fascinated generations of scholars, and continues to do so. After decades of merciless laws against religious dissidents under Emperor Charles V (1515-56) and his son King Philip II, and periods of strong persecution, the iconoclastic movement which swept the Low Countries in 1566, and the subsequent Revolt against Spain, altered the religious landscape of the Netherlands. The pluriformity of denominations was acknowledged as a permanent feature of society, while the Union of Utrecht in 1579 famously guaranteed that nobody was to be persecuted or investigated for religious reasons....

  4. Religious Toleration in Dutch Brazil (1624-1654)
    (pp. 13-33)
    Jonathan Israel

    Given that ‘toleration’ more than any other single aspect is what gives Dutch history its European, wider western, and general world significance, Dutch Brazil between 1624 and 1654 arguably has a special place in the history of the Old and New Worlds and in the history of modern secular society. But while it is legitimate to emphasize – and celebrate – the remarkable degree of religious toleration established under Dutch rule in north-eastern Brazil between the taking of Recife and Olinda, in 1630, and the final surrender of the remaining Dutch enclaves to the Portuguese crown, towards the end of...

  5. Portuguese Attitudes of Religious Tolerance in Dutch Brazil
    (pp. 35-59)
    Stuart B. Schwartz

    In the history of toleration, the occupation of north-eastern Brazil by the Dutch West India Company, and especially the period of the government of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen (1637-44), is sometimes presented as a kind of Camelot on the Capiberibe, a moment when under the protection of a humanist governor and an enlightened Renaissance prince, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews were able to live in relative peace and tranquility, a peace and harmony that in its concessions to freedom of conscience and of worship exceeded even that of Amsterdam itself.¹

    Toleration, or the multi-confessional state, we should remember was viewed...

  6. Back Matter
    (pp. 60-60)