Eastern Christian Books: Imagining Religious Toleration


The query of tolerance, particularly amongst so-named religious minorities, is 1 that gets consistently raised. Particular founding mythologies of the post-Reformation planet are all bound up with fatuous claims about “wars of religion” requiring the supposed peace and tolerance of the nation-state to resolve (a notion William Cavanaugh handily dispensed with). Supposedly “religious” groups have been not “tolerant” till the state was founded.

But when cameth this tolerance? Who conceived of it? What did it appear like? These are inquiries taken up in a collection becoming published later this year: Imagining Religious Toleration: A Literary History of an Concept, 1600–1830, eds. Alison Conway and David Alvarez (University of Toronto Press, October 2019), 304pp.

About this collection the publisher inform us this:

Present debates with regards to religious tolerations have come to a standstill. In investigating the eighteenth-century novel, Alison Conway, David Alvarez, and their contributors shed light on what literature can say about toleration, and how it can create and handle feelings of tolerance and intolerance. Largely reserved for intellectual historians and political philosophers, discussions of religious toleration are comparatively restricted, with pretty couple of literary scholars exploring the topic.

Starting with an overview of the historical debates surrounding the terms “toleration” and “tolerance,” this book moves on to talk about the precise contribution that literature and literary modes have produced to cultural history, studying the literary approaches philosophers, theologians, and political theorists applied to frame the inquiries central to the notion and practice of religious toleration. By tracing the rhetoric employed by a wide variety of authors, this book reveals the tropes and figures we associate with literary texts, delving into such subjects as conversion as an instrument of energy in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and the partnership in between religious toleration and the rise of Enlightenment satire.


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