Lecture by Wayne te Brake: "Making Religious Peace: A Historical Perspective," September 20, 2017

Stephen Staggs's picture

3:30-5:30 pm, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Meeter Center Lecture Hall, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, a brilliant young German theologian, famously issued a bold challenge to the Latin Christian Church, and over the next century and a half, Europe was enveloped in an intermittent but increasingly destructive series of religious wars that issued in one way or another from that challenge. Though historians traditionally focus on the wars, this presentation will focus on the broad and durable pattern of religious peace that followed.

Today, with headlines suggesting a new era of religious war on an even broader scale, religious peace seems elusive if not impossible.  The evidence from European history, however, suggests otherwise. Using photographs to illustrate what religious peace actually looked like in early modern Europe – shared churches, nominally hidden worship spaces, clandestine sites for ritual practice, and the like – Te Brake's presentation will show how it is possible to envision and to work for a more peaceful future.

Wayne te Brake is professor emeritus of history at Purchase College, State University of New York. His new book, Religious War and Religious Peace in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2017) surveys Europe's religious wars in order to offer a new understanding of the nature of religious peace.