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Voices for Tolerance

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The Struggle for Religious Toleration

The burning of the radical Spanish theologian and medical doctor Michael Servetus in Geneva on 27 October 1553 on the charge of denying the Christian trinity galvanized some of the most influential voices for and against religious toleration in early modern Europe. Servetus' execution horrified many and permanently damaged the reputation of Jean Calvin, the leader of the Genevan reformed church.


Among the voices for toleration of religious viewpoints was Jacopo Aconcio. In his Satanae stratagemata libri octo [1565], Aconcio advocated freedom of religious thought and argued that religious conflict was in fact the work of the devil.

Jacopo Aconcio. Satans Stratagems, or the devils cabinet-councel discovered. London, 1648.

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