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Translating Toleration: Concepts, Texts, and Intermediaries between Poland and Protestant Germany (1645–1795)

Religious tolerance is now considered to be one of the most important achievements of the modern era. Previous studies have recognized this concept and phenomenon either as an idea (theory) developed by intellectuals, or as a practice of coexistence of representatives of various denominations and religions in one territory. The aim of the project is to show the new meaning of this phenomenon. We intend to look at the phenomenon of tolerance as a topic, an object, and the effect of broadly understood diplomatic relations linking the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with Brandenburg-Prussia in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the analyzed period – opened by the Colloquium Charitativum, organized by the Polish king in Toruń in 1645, and closed by the last partition of Poland in 1795 – Polish-Brandenburg relations were extremely tense. Moreover, religious relations in both countries developed in opposite directions: in the Commonwealth, the political rights of Protestants were gradually limited, while Brandenburg was from 1613 a two-faith state, where the slogan of tolerance belonged to the raison d’état. It has become an important, if not a key political tool during the period under review.
At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the concept of tolerance was gaining more and more importance in the European political language. Our project intends to pose a question about: changes in this concept and features of a “tolerant state”; ways of creating the image of a tolerant state and promoting this image in the public sphere; the social and political consequences of winning the name of a “tolerant state”; the translation of this concept between different political languages.
The project is carried out by a Polish-German team led by Alexander Schunka and Maciej Ptaszyński.