Invocation of biblical authority in a secular decision: the theocratic relevance of the Torda Edict (1568)

It is often argued that the sixteenth-century Reformation initiated a chain of events that ultimately led not only to religious pluralism within the body of the Western Christian Church, but also to the rise and dispersion of mutual acceptance among various religious groups. The fact, however, that these two things (i.e. religious pluralism and tolerance) did not emerge directly and immediately (almost as a matter of course) from the Reformation itself, is similarly undeniable. As we shall see below, we have sufficient evidence to claim that although the Reformers – including John Calvin, Theodore Beza and others, with whom this paper is partly concerned – at some point in their lives (mostly in their youth) advocated and invocated the cultivation of the spirit of tolerance, most of them refrained from upholding such positions once their situation as leaders within a newly emerged (both religious and political) community or realm became established.