The Protestant Reformation and revolt against Spain led to major struggles among civic and religious leaders over how to care for the poor in the cities of Holland. For centuries parish charity had been devoted to all poor residents. Calvinists, however, intended their church deacons (who were responsible for charity) to care primarily, if not exclusively, for poor church members. Focusing on six cities, this study shows that the struggle over charity is best understood as a conflict between two distinct visions of Christian community during the Reformation.
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