Religious Tolerance, Pierre Bayle, Christianity, Edit of Nantes


In 1598, after the pronouncement of the Edict of Nantes by French king Henry lV, some French Catholics obeyed the edict and afforded religious tolerance to Huguenots (French Protestants} in parts of France. For the most part, ruling elites tolerated small Protestant communities that did not challenge their authority. However, as the seventeenth century progressed, issues of religious tolerance, concord and persecution became increasingly pertinent. Catholic communities often ignored many of the concessions afforded to religious minonttes by the Edict. Protestants throughout Europe had experienced varying degrees of tolerance and persecution during the sixteenth century, but by the seventeenth century there developed some lasting, tolerant communities with people of multiple confessions, or faiths. Believers often migrated to places in Switzerland or Germany if they were Protestant, or to places in France, Spain or Italy if they were Catholic, to join with others of their faith. However, there were communities of Protestants and Catholics in varying sizes throughout Europe and a smattering of multi-confessional communities. The Netherlands, in particular, functioned as a mixed state-mostly Protestant in the north and mostly Catholic in the South, with many lines blurred. Furthermore, Jews lived in many cities across Europe and the ruling elites had tolerated and permitted Jewish communities for years (with occasional periods of intolerance).