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The Conversion of Henri IV : Politics,…

The Conversion of Henri IV : Politics, Power, and Religious Belief in…

by Michael Wolfe

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674170318, Hardcover)

"Paris is worth a Mass". So said Henri IV on his conversion to Catholicism, acccording to cynics, and the motives behind the act have been the stuff of history ever since. "The Conversion of Henri IV" reclaims the religious significance of this momentous event in the development of the French monarchy and early modern political culture. Michael Wolfe offers an in-depth account of the political, diplomatic, and theological dimensions of the 1593 conversion of the Protestant Henri de Navarre. Where others have emphasized the ideological aspects of the conflict sparked by the conversion, Wolfe places the controversy within contemporary ideas about confessional change and practice, as well as the historical traditions that defined what it meant to be French. Using pamphlets, sermons, letters, and memoranda, he traces the conversion crisis as it unfolded in the minds of the king's subjects and as it affected their loyalties and actions during the last religious wars. In this analysis, the public response to Henri IV's conversion reveals a great deal about contemporary notions of personal piety and the Church, political ideals and the state, as well as social identity and obligations. Joining the history of "mentalite" with that of political and religious behaviour, Wolfe also pays close attention to the impact of military and political developments. This approach helps to explain the fundamental role of Henri IV's conversion in the establishment, and acceptance of Bourbon absolutism in the last two centuries of the "ancien regime". While not denying the political importance of Henri IV's conversion, this book underscores the profound religious implications of the event. It puts religion back into the Wars of Religion and strives to enhance our understanding of the rise of the early modern French state.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:46 -0400)

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