Patent of Toleration
The Patent of Toleration was an edict issued in 1781 by the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II of Austria. The Patent extended religious freedom to non-Catholic Christians living in Habsburg lands, including Lutherans, Calvinists, and the Greek Orthodox. Specifically, these members of minority faiths were now legally permitted to hold "private religious exercises" in clandestine churches. It was followed by the Edict of Tolerance in 1782.
The edict extended to Jews the freedom to pursue all branches of commerce, but also imposed new requirements. Jews were required to create German-language primary schools or send their children to Christian schools (Jewish schools had previously taught children to read and write Hebrew in addition to mathematics.) The Patent also permitted Jews to attend state secondary schools. A series of laws issued soon after the Edict of Toleration abolished the autonomy of the Jewish communities, which had previously run their own court, charity, internal taxation and school systems; required Jews to acquire family names; made Jews subject to military conscription; and required candidates for the rabbinate to have secular education.
The Patent was originally called the "Divine Send of Equal Liberties" but was further put down by the monarch's advisor.
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- Kaplan, Benjamin J., Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, Harvard University Press, 2007, Chapter 8, pp. 192-4. ff..
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