Conversion narratives in early modern Europe

Project: Research project (funded)Research

Project Details

Layman's description

In post-Reformation Europe (c.1550-1700), religious conversion took place on a scale that had not been seen since the official Christianisation of the Roman Empire in the fourth century and the seventh-century Muslim conquest of the south Mediterranean seaboard and most of the Iberian peninsula. Under the combined effects of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations within and pressure from the Ottoman Empire without, early modern Europe became a site in which an unprecedented number of people were confronted by new beliefs, and collective and individual religious identities were broken down and reconfigured.

Key findings


a.)Simon Ditchfield & Peter Mazur, "Raccontare la conversione in età moderna. A proposito di Schiavitù Mediterranee", Storia e Politica 4, no. 2 (2012), 411-426.
b.)Peter Mazur, ‘Searcher of hearts: Cesare Baronio, Justus Baronius, and the History of Conversion, Journal of the History of Ideas, forthcoming (end of 2013)
c.)Peter Mazur, Improbable Lives: Converts to Catholicism in Early Modern Italy, Catholic Christendom 1300-1700 Series, Ashgate Publishing, contract signed, (ms to be delivered end of 2013)
d.)Peter Mazur & Abigail Shinn (eds.), introduction to ‘Conversion narratives in the early modern world’, special double issue of Journal of Early Modern History, 17, 5-6 (2013) of six articles + 3,864 word co-authored introduction
e.)Helen Smith, ‘Metaphor, Cure and Conversion’ Renaissance Quarterly, 64.2, (2014), 473-502.
f.)Helen Smith, ‘"Wilt thou not read me, Atheist?": The Bible and Conversion’, Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in England, c. 1530-1700 (Oxford University Press, 2015), 350-64.
g.)Helen Smith, ‘Virtue and Vice: A Collaboration Between Hardwick Hall and the University of York’, ABC Bulletin [National Trust in-house magazine], (October 2013).

2. Other research outputs:

Blog at
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Videos of public lecture series:

‘Virtue and Vice’ mobile app to accompany project exhibition at Hardwick Hall.
Effective start/end date1/09/1031/08/13


  • AHRC: £457,645.00