Cover: Faith on the Margins: Catholics and Catholicism in the Dutch Golden Age, from Harvard University PressCover: Faith on the Margins in HARDCOVER

Faith on the Margins

Catholics and Catholicism in the Dutch Golden Age

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$78.00 • £67.95 • €70.95

ISBN 9780674026629

Publication Date: 02/28/2008


346 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 map


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A valuable contribution to the literature on religion in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic and, more broadly, on early modern European Catholicism. Parker makes clear how different conceptions of the status of the Catholic Church in the Dutch Republic underlay the conflicts between the priests of the Holland Mission and the members of religious orders, especially the Jesuits. He helps to correct long-standing assumptions about the character of toleration in the Dutch Republic, revising our picture of its rosy, de facto toleration of religious minorities. There is nothing like this synthesis in Dutch or English. —Brad S. Gregory, author of Salvation at Stake

A well-written book with an original argument. Parker shows convincingly that he has not fallen victim to the Calvinist myth that pervades many works on the Dutch Golden Age by reestablishing the Dutch Catholic population as an autonomous social and cultural group. He is the first to analyze in such detail and with such precision the role of the Dutch Catholic laity, and offers a sensitive account of Catholic life as well as a strong portrait of social relations in early modern society. —Willem Frijhoff, VU University, Amsterdam

A wonderfully lucid and deeply informed account of Dutch Catholics during the Golden Age. Parker’s portrait of the Catholic laity, in particular, is thoughtful and compelling. The reader discovers much about religious choice and confessional coexistence as Parker carefully delineates the challenges faced by Catholics. What was the character of their faith? How did they construct a community of believers? What, in short, did it mean to be Catholic in the remarkably pluralistic albeit officially Protestant Dutch Republic? —Raymond A. Mentzer, University of Iowa

Revising traditional images of the Dutch Republic as an inherently tolerant and inclusive state, Parker shows how the liberty of conscience accorded Catholics was experienced as persecution because, to believing Catholics, denying access to the sacraments meant denying the means to salvation. The perception of themselves as a persecuted minority prompted Dutch Catholics to develop the sense of community ultimately essential to the faith’s survival and growth. Placing Dutch Catholicism squarely within the broader European context of the Catholic Reformation, this book is essential reading for students of early modern religion and society.—Barbara Diefendorf, Boston University

Faith on the Margins is the first study of Catholic identity in an officially Protestant state, the Dutch Republic. Deeply researched and sophisticated in its presentation, it throws new light on the complex problem of religious choice and toleration in early modern Europe.—Henk van Nierop, University of Amsterdam

[A] meticulously researched and persuasively engaging study of seventeenth-century Dutch Catholicism...This is an important study that ought to be read by all with an interest in the dynamics of Catholic Reformation.—Peter Marshall, Times Literary Supplement

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