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Religious Perseveration of Peace and Peace-making in Europe (1500–1800) – Digital Edition of Early Modern religious Peace Treaties

The edition provides for the first time the textual basis for comparative research on Early Modern religious peace-making in Europe. It includes detailed introductions and commentaries and covers the period from 1485 (Peace of Kuttenberg) to 1788 (so-called Woellner Edict of Religion).

Religious peace treaties are – as a specific phenomenon of Early Modern times – intra-Christian settlements establishing a qualitatively new legal status between two or more religious parties. These settlements, which were composed in different legal forms and reached their peak in 16th century, were usually aimed toward the restoration of the unity of faith. They contained specific regulations for the freedom of faith and worship granted to the religious parties, for the access of their adherents to certain rights and made provisions for church property. They sought to establish a peaceful coexistence designed to last as long as possible. In providing techniques for the political and legal containment of religious differences, they contributed significantly to the emergence of the concept of tolerance and the evolution of the European practice of peace making.

While the more than 2.000 political “intergovernmental” peace treaties concluded between 1450 and 1789 have already been collected and made available to the public [http://www.ieg-friedensvertraege.de/], the Early Modern religious peace treaties were to date neither systematically catalogued nor edited and analysed. The project fulfils this desideratum. As the basis of the edition serve the texts of the religious peace treaties as they were first published and read (editio princeps). The edition facilitates a comprehensive analysis of the political, juridical and theological positions and patterns of argumentation. It allows insight into the experience of difference of the parties involved in conflict and presents the solutions developed for peaceful coexistence by revealing their specific characteristics within their unique contexts as well as their general patterns and their interdependence.
The edition is published online in open access and will also be available in a printed version consisting of five volumes.

Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz in cooperation with the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel
Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)