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The Conversion of Henri IV : politics, power, and religious belief in early modern France

Author: Michael Wolfe
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1993.
Series: Harvard historical studies, v. 112.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Paris is worth a Mass." So said Henri IV on his conversion to Catholicism, according to cynics, and the motives behind the act have been the stuff of history ever since. The Conversion of Henri IV reclaims the religious significance of this momentous event in the development of the French monarchy and early modern political culture. Michael Wolfe offers an in-depth account of the political, diplomatic, and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Church history
History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Wolfe, Michael.
Conversion of Henri IV.
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1993
(OCoLC)607751920
Online version:
Wolfe, Michael.
Conversion of Henri IV.
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1993
(OCoLC)622903562
Named Person: Henry, King of France; Henry, King of France.; Henry, King of France; König IV ) Heinrich (Frankreich; Henri, Frankreich König
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michael Wolfe
ISBN: 0674170318 9780674170315
OCLC Number: 26161395
Description: x, 253 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Series Title: Harvard historical studies, v. 112.
Responsibility: Michael Wolfe.

Abstract:

"Paris is worth a Mass." So said Henri IV on his conversion to Catholicism, according to cynics, and the motives behind the act have been the stuff of history ever since. The Conversion of Henri IV reclaims the religious significance of this momentous event in the development of the French monarchy and early modern political culture. Michael Wolfe offers an in-depth account of the political, diplomatic, and theological dimensions of the 1593 conversion of the Protestant Henri de Navarre. Where others have emphasized the ideological aspects of the conflict sparked by the conversion, Wolfe situates the controversy within contemporary ideas about confessional change and practice, as well as the historical traditions that defined what it meant to be French. Using pamphlets, sermons, letters, and memoranda, he traces the conversion crisis as it unfolded in the minds of the king's subjects and as it affected their loyalties and actions during the last religious wars. In this analysis, the public response to Henri IV's conversion reveals a great deal about contemporary notions of personal piety and the Church, political ideals and the state, as well as social identity and obligations. Joining the history of mentalite with that of political and religious behavior, Wolfe also pays close attention to the impact of military and political developments. This approach helps explain the fundamental role of Henri IV's conversion in the establishment and acceptance of Bourbon absolutism in the last two centuries of the ancien regime. While not denying the political importance of Henri IV's conversion, this book underscores the profound religious implications of the event. It puts religion back into the Wars of Religion and thereby enhances our understanding of the rise of the early modern French state.

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