Thursday, December 25, 2008
All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World
From a review of All Can Be Saved by Stuart B. Schwartz (Yale Univ. Press, 2008, 336 pp., $40):
"Stuart Schwartz argues eloquently and convincingly in All Can Be Saved that the kind of plurality we now take for granted also existed in the distant past, albeit more cautiously hidden. Disbelief, indifference, and unbelief have always been an option, he affirms, and so has tolerance, which he distinguishes from toleration. According to Schwartz, tolerance—the acceptance of a live-and-let-live attitude toward those who believe differently from oneself—was practiced in Spain and elsewhere long before actual toleration became a business necessity or a legal reality. The steep and tortuous road to state-supported religious toleration, then, was not built so much by freethinking theoreticians such as Locke, Hume, and Voltaire, whose role was akin to cartographers and engineers, but by thousands upon thousands of ordinary men and women, and a few extraordinary ones, who simply refused to accept all of the theological and ethical norms that their church and state handed to them willy-nilly at baptism, or nolens volens, as the elites of that day would have said."
The full review is here.