Searching for Compromise? Inter-religious dialogue, agreements, and tolerance in 16th-18th century Europe

Call for Papers
April 19, 2019 to September 30, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

Searching for Compromise? Interreligious dialogue, agreements, and tolerance in 16th-18th century Europe.

Place: History Institute, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

Date: 19-21.06.2020


2020 will mark the 450th anniversary of the Sandomir Synod when representatives of three Protestant churches in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth accepted each other’s confessions and pledged to cooperate in the future. Their labors resulted in the Sandomir Consensus and the publishing of the Sandomir Confession, a Polish language edition of Henry Bullinger’s Second Helvetic Confession. Both these documents had profound importance for the development of Protestantism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Europe. They became the cornerstones for the myth of “Polish tolerance.”

To commemorate this anniversary, The Institute of History of the University of Warsaw is planning an international conference, which will take place June 19-21, 2020, in Warsaw. The conference’s subject will be theories and practices that allowed for both dialogue and guaranteed a peaceful settlement between rival religions and confessions. The organizers hope that the conference will allow to place the synod of Sandomir in the wider contexts of European debates, and to ask questions about European traditions of “religious tolerance before the Enlightenment” (Benjamin Kaplan). This tolerance did not exclude the polemics and the need to distinguish itself from the other groups. On the contrary, it also led to development of a new self-awareness within the confessional churches.

The organizers are especially interested in comparative perspectives that go beyond local regional contexts and trace the transfer or ideas and practices from the 16th to the 18th centuries. 

Some of the most pertinent questions are:

  • the irenic tradition in Europe, 16th-18th century
  • religious debates and colloquies in the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century
  • religious peace settlements and interconfessional agreements in Europe (especially the Augsburg religious peace of 1555 and the French religious peace treaties)
  • the role of lay politics in interreligious agreements
  • everyday religious tolerance as well as social conditions of the religious coexistence in different countries
  • the history of the Sandomir Consensus and Sandomir Confession
  • the reception of the Sandomir Consensus in Central and Eastern Europe and its role for irenicism in the 17th and 18th centuries
  • the role of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the irenic and interconfessional  debates in the 16th-18th centuries

The conference will be conducted in English.

The keynote lectures will be given by Bruce Gordon form Yale University and Alexander Schunka from Freie Universität Berlin.


Please send draft paper proposals for possible papers together with a C.V. by September 30, 2019 to the address:

Conference participation is free but the organizers may not be able to fully refund travelling expenses or accommodation costs. Assistance in organizing your stay in Warsaw will be offered. Any decisions about refunds will be made after securing sponsorships and funds.

Kazimierz Bem

Maciej Ptaszyński

Contact Info: 

Kazimierz Bem

Maciej Ptaszyński