A pious people

Judith Pollmann

in Catholic Identity and the Revolt of the Netherlands, 1520‐1635

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199609918
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729690 | DOI:

Series: The Past & Present Book Series

A pious people

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The ‘passivity’ that lay Catholics in the Netherlands exhibited in first response to the Reformation and the Dutch Revolt was not unusual. The chapter shows that this passivity was not caused by a lack of attachment to, interest in, or knowledge of, the Catholic faith. In the early sixteenth-century Netherlands, Catholics took their faith extremely seriously. This chapter argues that it is to the modernity of early sixteenth-century Christianity in the Low Countries, rather than its stagnation or backwardness, that we should look to explain why the evangelical challenge was so difficult to meet. Protestantism emerged organically from existing and new trends in traditional religion. This explains both its appeal, and that it was difficult for Catholics to determine their response to it.

Keywords: Iconoclasm; pre-Reformation church; clergy; reform; literacy; Bible reading; Erasmus; Reformation; Anabaptistm; Calvinism; persecution; modernity

Chapter.  13880 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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