Subtypes Guilds - Religious Brotherhoods

Dutch: Religieuze broederschappen, Italian: Confraternita.

In the context of institutions for collective action, religious brotherhoods were associations that united fellow worshippers and fellow tradesmen with the formal goal of religious worship, but often offered conviviality as well. Unlike craft guilds, membership in these associations was not compulsory. Nevertheless, because religious confraternities could also unite members of the same occupation – such as in the southern part of the Low Countries or in France – they are often mistaken for guilds because of their overlapping characteristics. By our standard definition of a craft guild, religious brotherhoods differed because their main goal was religious and not economic.

Conversely, though the craft guilds’ primary concern was economic, in all guilds religion played a role. The extent of this role changed after the Reformation, which formed an important watershed, especially in North-Western Europe.


(Thijs, 2006)


More information about religious brotherhoods per country can be found by clicking the links beneath:


> Religious brotherhoods in the Netherlands

> Religious brotherhoods in Belgium

> Religious brotherhoods in Italy



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