The Hussites’ contribution to the transformation of the Czech state and its influence upon constitutional development were substantial. Various Hussite factions united over a program known as the Four Articles of Prague. InThe Four Articles of Prague within the Public Sphere of Hussite Bohemia, Kamila Veverková situates the Four Articles—presented here in a new translation by Angelo Franklin—in their political and economic context, emphasizing the societal reforms stimulated by the Hussite theological program.
The Hussites demanded free proclamation of God's word, advocated public punishment of sins for all estates, rejected the secular rule of the church, and proclaimed the need to receive communion under both kinds. With no royal government in the country, the Czech Land Diet and its appointed administrators exercised practical power. The Czechs’ arduous negotiations at the Council of Basel ultimately succeeded; the Council adopted the Four Articles of Prague in the form of the Compactata, which later became part of Czech law (1436). The Religious Peace of Kutná Hora (1485) expressed the new constitutional situation, allowing religious freedom. This unheard-of principle preceded other related legal developments by several centuries. Hussites permanently changed the form of the state and law, becoming a model for Europe in the transition from feudalism to a bourgeois society.
Kamila Veverková is dean of the Hussite Theological Faculty of Charles University in Prague.
Angelo Shaun Franklin is an independent researcher, translator, and educational consultant in Prague.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Four Articles of Prague
Introduction to the Four Articles of Prague (1951)
The Four Articles of Prague: A New Translation on the Occasion of the 600th Anniversary of their Declaration (1420–2020)
Part II: The Four Articles of Prague Within the Public Sphere of Hussite Bohemia
Chapter 1: Master Jan Hus & His Predecessors
Chapter 2: The Four Articles of Prague: A Political and Legal Program
Chapter 3: Between the Four Articles and the Iudex Compactatus in Egra: The Struggle of the Bohemian Diet for the Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bohemia
Chapter 4: Land Diets in the Struggle against Sigismund and the Council of Basel: The Journey towards the Compacts of Jihlava (1436)
Chapter 5: The Constitutional Development of the Bohemian State from 1436 to 1471
The program of the Hussite movement was only partially realized, but nevertheless left a deep impression on subsequent religious and social history. It therefore deserves to be accessible to the widest possible audience in a complete version with informative commentary. This book offers both and should thus be welcomed as a commendable achievement.
Six hundred years since the 'Golden Bull' of the Hussite Revolution—this is an excellent overview study of the genesis of the most prominent document of the Czech Reformation.
A remarkable illustration not only of the historical, but also of the legal and political significance of the Four Articles of Prague on the social transformation of medieval Bohemia.
On the occasion of the 600th anniversary of The Four Articles of Prague, this volume will prove of great interest not only to students of the Bohemian Reformation, but to all concerned with the larger history of the rise of modern legal, political and theological thought. Angelo Shaun Franklin’s English translation of The Four Articles of Prague includes extensive editorial notes that will allow readers rich engagement with the text and its sources. Furthermore, the translation of Kamila Veverková’s The Four Articles of Prague within the Public Sphere of Hussite Bohemia offers an excellent introduction to the period of Bohemian history both immediately preceding and in the decades following the public declaration of The Four Articles, in addition to examining how their effects continue to resound into the current era. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the larger story of Reformation social, political and, especially, legal thought and what it might mean for us today.