AdvisorOberman, Heiko A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractTheodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France examines the changing political strategies and religious attitudes of French Protestant leaders between the Saint Bartholomew's day massacres (1572) and the Edict of Nantes (1598). The hand-picked successor of John Calvin in 1564, Theodore Beza was an influential teacher, preacher, and power-broker in Geneva, as well as a prominent exiled leader of the French Reformed churches during the next four decades. Drawing on Beza's correspondence network, city archival materials and rare Huguenot pamphlets, I reconstruct the survival tactics of French Protestants in response to Catholic advances, document the decline in Huguenot expectations after 1572, and examine how social and political factors created widening ideological fissures within the Reformed movement by century's end. In highlighting the patterns of thought of the Huguenot leadership, my research contributes to an understanding of Protestant mentalities during the turbulent era of the French civil wars. In the aftermath of the massacres of 1572, Beza and other exiled leaders in Geneva were not only theorists of political resistance, but major players in Protestant agitation against the Valois monarchy. As the Reformed churches withered under royal persecution and Catholic missionary activities during the next decade, the reformer and his colleagues gradually aligned their political fortunes with Henri of Navarre. Beza tempered, but did not abandon his resistance theories when Navarre became presumptive heir to the French throne (1584). In return for a secret--hitherto unknown--annual stipend, Beza became Navarre's 'public relations agent' in Germany and Switzerland, raising money and mercenaries for Huguenot armies in the years prior to Henri's accession (1589). The bonds of friendship, patriotism and patronage made Beza a dedicated supporter of the person and program of Henri IV, even after the king converted to Catholicism in 1594. Thereafter, he urged the Reformed to trust the king's peace overtures, while attempting to silence 'moderates' who advocated doctrinal compromise in return for a political settlement. Though welcoming the Edict of Nantes, Beza and other Protestant leaders recognized that prospects for reform in France had been decisively curtained: 'the golden age has degenerated into a century of iron.'
Degree ProgramGraduate College