Ideas of Religious Tolerance in the Early Modern Hispanic World


Stuart Schwartz (Yale University)




18:15 Central European Summer Time


Zoom Meeting

In recent years, scholars have questioned two traditional assumptions about toleration in early modern Europe. First, that Spain and Portugal (and their empires) are relevant to this topic only as models of persecuting societies in which religious intolerance led to decline. Second, that the history of religious toleration is primarily a field of intellectual history in which philosophers like Spinoza, Locke, and Voltaire changed how Europeans thought about freedom of conscience. Stuart Schwartz’s 2009 book All Can Be Saved challenged both assumptions by demonstrating the extent to which ordinary people in Iberia and its empires doubted the exclusive validity of the Church, and were therefore willing to accept religious tolerance. In this lecture, Stuart Schwartz summarizes that evidence of popular resistance to the concept of nulla salus extra ecclesiam and respond to criticisms of my “controversial” approach to a social history of religious tolerance using Inquisition records. This talk will also use several case studies to raise questions about the “popular” or “learned” origins of ideas about religious toleration.

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