beating' if they professed their beliefs publicly. Under the successors of Joseph II, even this limited toleration did not survive.
More coherent and long-lasting expressions of religious toleration can be found outside France and the Holy Roman Empire. In northern Europe, the Elector of Brandenburg, a member of the Reformed Church, ruled over a state that was predominantly Lutheran, and here, as elsewhere, such an anomalous relation between ruler and ruled served to promote religious toleration. From early in his reign, Frederick William, 'the Great Elector', sought to foster understanding and peace between Calvinists and Lutherans in his realm. Brandenburg-Prussia had been seriously depopulated by the wars of religion, and the need to attract settlers provided another powerful incentive for toleration. Thus, Frederick William welcomed the Jews expelled from Vienna in 1670, and within weeks of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he issued the Potsdam decree which guaranteed the French Protestants legal rights in Brandenburg and offered them government subsidies. Pietists exiled from Saxony in 1690 also found a home in Prussia, with important implications for the future of toleration.
Frederick William I, King of Brandenburg-Prussia (ruled 1713-40) not only welcomed the exiles from the principality of Salzburg in the fiasco of i73i-32,he also arranged safe passage for the refugees, provided for their care on the way, and offered them support when they arrived in East Prussia. By mid-century, as rationalism at the University of Halle gradually supplanted the university's earlier ethos of Pietism, the new forms ofthought gained the support of Frederick II 'the Great' of Prussia (1740-86). However, Frederick's well-known patronage of Enlightenment figures, his personal indifference to religion, and his much publicized promotion of the rights of private judgement need to be viewed in light of his more traditional, pragmatically oriented policy on toleration. To be sure, the seventeenth-century works of Samuel Pufendorf and the later writings of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, for example, Nathan the Wise (1778), undoubtedly contributed to the atmosphere of toleration in Brandenburg-Prussia. But public peace, order, and military strength were paramount for Frederick. His general regulation for the Jews of 1750 was repressive, with restrictions about where Jews could live and build synagogues. Moreover, his welcoming of religious dissenters in 1763 did not extend to the unfettered freedom of public worship. The first general Prussian edict on toleration (1788) was promulgated only after Frederick II's death. It guaranteed private liberty of conscience; it extended state protection for private worship to Jews, Men-nonites, and Moravians; and it sought to regulate public proselytizing, since missionary activity bore directly on the question of public peace and order.2
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