The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: Political Thought in the French Wars of Religion, Sophie Nicholls

Political Thought in the French Wars of Religion

Sophie Nicholls

Through its close, critical reading of the political treatises and polemical literature produced in France in the sixteenth century, this book offers a valuable new contribution to the intellectual history of the Early Modern era. Sophie Nicholls analyses the political thought of the theologians and jurists in the Holy League as they pursued their crusade against heresy in the French kingdom, during the wars of religion (1562-1629). Contemporaries portrayed the Leaguers as rebellious anarchists, who harboured dangerously democratic ideas. In contrast, Nicholls demonstrates that the intellectuals in the movement were devoted royalists, who had more in common with their moderate counterparts, the 'politiques'. In paying close attention to the conceptual language of politics in this era, this book shows how jurists and theologians in the League presented visions of sovereignty that subtly replenished medieval ideas of kingship and priesthood, and endeavoured to replace them with a new synthesis of intellectual tradition and political power. In a period when 'the state' was still emerging as an idea, analysing League thought in the context of Jesuit and Second Scholastic sources positions the Leaguers in relation to innovative attempts in European Catholic circles to re-think the nature of belonging to a political community.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publish Date: May 23rd, 2024
  • Pages: 283
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.60in - 0.84lb
  • EAN: 9781108743938
  • Categories: History & Theory - General

About the Author

Nicholls, Sophie: - Sophie Nicholls is a College Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Oxford. She specialises in the French wars of religion and her interests range from the intersection between theological and juridical conceptions of politics, to developing conceptions of citizenship and rights in the Early Modern era.

Praise for this book

'Nicholls has established beyond doubt the range and sophistication of League thinking, its significance in renewing the scholastic tradition and its contribution to mainstream thinking about the commonwealth and civil society ... Nicholls's clear exegesis of often difficult-to-decipher texts demonstrates with more certainty than hitherto the debt to medieval scholastics in articulating the belief that civil society was unthinkable without religious unity.' S. Carroll, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
'This book considers political thought in a way that is both fully embodied (paying attention to argumentation and the ways in which the different parties confront each other) and original (thanks to a selection of little-known texts and a specific way of questioning them), offering us a look into the heart of the debate that ran through sixteenth-century France. Focusing on a well-defined subject (the political thought of the League) at the heart of a long and rich history (from medieval scholasticism to the seventeenth-century dévots), it proves to be extremely stimulating for anyone studying the cultural history of the French Wars of Religion.' Alexandre Goderniaux, Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme
'...the book effectively shows that the French League, so well studied for decades mostly by French historians, in terms of a very sophisticated and more and more deepened social and political history, has also now found an important place within the history of European political thought and the development of Neothomism.' Cornel Zwierlein, Journal of Modern History