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The reception of the Sandomierz Concord (1570) in Europe in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The role of Irenaism in shaping confessional cultures



The Sandomierz Concord (Consensus sendomiriensis), designing an agreement between Protestant Churches in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was a unique document on a European – and even world – scale, signed at a time when the paths of the Protestant confessions diverged irrevocably. Therefore, also outside of Poland, the document quickly gained exceptional significance for Protestant cultures of all denominations. In 1586/7 and 1605 the Concordance was published in print in the Reich. In the seventeenth century, it was the most frequently cited document in the works of irenic theologians and in the drafts of the Covenant of Faiths in the Reich, England, France and the Netherlands.

The aim of the project is to investigate the processes of reception of the Sandomierz Concord in Europe in the modern era.  The research will be based on manuscripts held in the archives in Warsaw, Cracow, Kórnik, Toruń, and in Berlin, Herrnhut, Prague, Zurich and Bethlehem (USA); as well as on published collections of correspondence of Protestant theologians, printed historiographical works and polemical and irenic writings.

Analysis of the reception of the Concordance will shed new light on the significance of seventeenth-century irenicism and the role of confessional polemics in the creation of denominational identity. The new face of irenicism will be shown through an analysis of the various roles of the Sandomierz Concord in the works of theologians calling for confessional agreement. For even in the writings of irenic theologians, the reception of the Concord – contrary to the theologians’ declarations – bore clear denominational features and contributed to the formation of confessional cultures. The use of Consent for particular confessional purposes can be described with an oxymoron – as “confessional irenicism”.

NCN Grant OPUS-16, No. 2018/31/B/HS3/00351