'The Right of Freedom of Religion: An Historical Perspective from the West,' in Silvio Ferrari, et al., eds., Routledge Handbook on Freedom of Religion and Belief
“The Right of Freedom of Religion: An Historical Perspective from the West,” in Silvio Ferrari, et al., eds., Routledge Handbook on Freedom of Religion and Belief (London: Routledge, 2020), 9-24
20 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2021
Date Written: 2020
This chapter traces the history of religious freedom and its abridgement from the earliest biblical and classical sources of the West until today. This chapter highlights a few of the decisive steps, sometimes born of hard and cruel experience, in the development of religious freedom and religion-state relations. It traces religious freedom among the Church Fathers and within the Roman Empire; medieval scholastic theology and canon law; the Protestant Reformation with its Lutheran, Anabaptist, Calvinist, and Anglican branches, and the Catholic Counterreformation; the early modern clashes of religious establishments and religious freedom movements on both sides of the Atlantic; the gradual constitutional protection of liberty of conscience, religious equality, and free exercise of religions during the age of democratic revolutions; and the essential place of religious freedom in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its progeny and in the modern teachings of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian traditions.
Keywords: Law, Religion, Law and Religion, Christianity, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, church-state relations, establishment of religion, free exercise of religion, constitutional liberty
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