Anabaptism: Our Favorite Resources

Rich and Maureen share their favorite Anabaptist resources

 

Video transcript:

RICHARD
This is the video in our series where we talk about resources we’d recommend if you’re interested in doing a deeper dive on Anabaptists and Anabaptism. I’m going to start by giving a shout–out to gameo.org, that’s Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (where else?) which according to their mission statement provides “reliable, freely–available English language information on Anabaptist-related” stuff. Stuff is my word. It’s basically an Anabaptist Wikipedia where you can quickly find out for example if Thomas Muntzer, a radical social reformer and leader in the Peasant’s War of 1525, had any connection with the early Anabaptists (he did). And did you know that the German peasants who fought in that war demanding reform of the Christian Church and political freedom waved a rainbow flag symbolizing God’s eternal covenant with humanity?

MAUREEN
I did not know that. Moving on, a definitive overview of the time period when Anabaptism flourished is The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch. It is totally worth your while. It’s useful in placing Anabaptism in the context of the many diverse threads of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. The German Peasants’ War and Anabaptist Community of Goods by James Stayer basically links the Anabaptist doctrine of common ownership to the Peasant’s War. Although the revolt was crushed, the socialist ideals persisted in small Anabaptist communities, and persists to this day. So thanks to everyone who came out with their pitchforks.

RICHARD
Yes. Up with the common man! Now on to some primary source material starting with Peter Riedemann’s Hutterite Confession of Faith. Riedemann was a Silesian cobbler who joined the Hutterites in 1532 and became an elder of the church. He wrote this amazing document for a local Lutheran ruler while in prison. It weaves together the twelve articles of the Christian faith (the Apostles’ Creed) with biblical texts in a way that support the idea of communal discipleship.

MAUREEN
If you want a better understanding of the Anabaptists’ position on unconditional nonviolence, Peter Walpot’s The Christian and the Sword is essential reading. Walpot was also a Hutterite elder and a prolific writer. This document is actually just one part of a larger text, The Great Article Book. It presents arguments for nonviolence in the Old Testament, the Gospels, the Epistles, and finally has a kind of FAQ – “Questions the World Asks”.  It’s available as a free PDF download!

RICHARD
Finally, a little shameless self–promotion. Plough, the publishing house of the Bruderhof, will be putting out a series of books entitled Classics of the Radical Reformation. The thirteen titles in the series are scholarly and critical editions of the primary works of pioneers of the Radical Reformation including Pilgram Marpeck, Micahel Sattler, Balthasar Hubmaier, Dirk Philips, and Peter Riedemann. While they are scholarly they should be accessible to a broad audience of people interested in Anabaptism. So make sure to get all thirteen copies.

MAUREEN
I can’t believe you just stole my chance to shamelessly promote Plough. You don’t even work there, and I’m the publicist.

RICHARD
Hey, we share all things in common.

MAUREEN
Clearly, even punchlines. Must be time to end the video. You can find links to the resources mentioned in the description below. Thanks for watching. Please drop any questions you may have in the comments so we can answer them in the next video and be sure to subscribe