406. Believe at Your Own Risk: Toleration in France

Posted on 23 October 2022

Even as wars of religion in France prompt calls for toleration, hardly anyone makes a principled case for freedom of conscience… apart from Sebastian Castellio.

Further Reading

• R. Bainton (trans.), Castellio: Concerning Heretics, Whether They are to be Persecuted and How They Are To Be Treated (New York: 1965).

• J. Lecler and M. Valkhoff (eds), Les premiers defenseurs de la liberte de conscience (Paris: 1969).


• F. Buisson, Sébastien Castellion, sa vie et son oeuvre, 2 vols (Paris: 1892).

• E. Curley, “Sebastian Castellio’s Erasmian Liberalism,” Philosophical Topics 31 (2003), 47-73.

• B. Gordon, “To Kill a Heretic: Sebastian Castellio against John Calvin,” in G. Kemp (ed.), Censorship Moments: Reading Texts in the History of Censorship and Freedom of Expression (London: 2014), 55-61.

• O.P. Grell and B. Scribner (eds), Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation (Cambridge: 1996).

• J. Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 2 vols (London: 1960, originally published as Histoire de la tolérance au siècle de la Réforme, 1955).

• M.C. Smith, “Early French Advocates of Religious Freedom,” Sixteenth Century Journal 25 (1994), 29-51.

• M. Turchetti, “Religious Concord and Political Tolerance in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century France,” Sixteenth Century Journal 22 (1991), 15-25.

M. van Veen, “Stoica paradoxa: Sebastian Castellio’s Polemic against Calvin’s Doctrine of Predestination,” Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 77 (2015), 325-50.


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