The Blasphemy of Jan of Leiden: A research plan

The Blasphemy of Jan of Leiden: A research plan

The Blasphemy of Jan of Leiden is the oldest text by Menno Simons, and it indicates that he was an early opponent of the Anabaptists of Münster. This, at least, has long been the consensus view about early Mennonite history. A challenge for researchers, however, is that the oldest copy of The Blasphemy is from 1627. This post introduces a project to find out more about this 1627 text.

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Summer research and conference overview

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SCSC 2016 Bruges: Sessions 23 and 38 Notes: A Mennonite “International”?

I’m at the SCSC Bruges, and I plan to post occasional thoughts as a kind of idea-notebook.

The first two sessions I visited were about religious diversity and identity:

  • Session 23: Healing the Church and the World
  • Session 38: Transnational Activism and Religious Solidarity

A question that occurs to me following the papers, particularly Judith Pollmann’s discussion, is whether it might be valuable not only to analyze a “Catholic international” (Pollmann) and the more common category of a “Calvinist international” but also Täufer-Mennonite and Jewish internationals?

The Sixteenth Century Studies Conference in Vancouver (#SCSC2015)


Totem pole at the Vancouver International Airport

The 2015 Sixteenth Century Studies Conference took place in late October in Vancouver. During the conference I attended sessions on digital humanities, exile, and Anabaptism / Radical Reformation. You can read my Twitter postings and those of others who attended the conference using the hashtag #SCSC2015.

Images of Erfurt during the IAHR

I’m writing this post on the second full day of the conference of the Intl Assoc for the History of Religions ( Before spending the time to make some more content-heavy posts, I’ll include a few images.

I arrived on Sunday in time to take a walk around the old city. The Cathedral is of course one of the landmarks.

Erfurt Cathedral

Erfurt Cathedral (Dom)

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Photos of Ana/Baptist Münster

This picture was taken from the flagstone memorial in the Prinzipalmarkt (see the picture below).

1. St. Lamberti Church.

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Upcoming reflections on research in Europe 2014-15

IAHR2015-logoI’m on my way to the meeting of the International Association of the History of Religions in Erfurt, Germany ( During the trip I plan to post more frequently to this site, and I hope also to build some more experience tweeting during conferences. In addition to thoughts about the conference in Erfurt, I also plan a research travelogue and some reflections on conferences I attended in my sabbatical year (2014-15).

(Self-)Portraits of early modern artists from Doopsgezind (Mennonite) milieus

(Self-)Portraits of early modern artists from Doopsgezind (Mennonite) milieus

This post consists of a gallery of early modern Dutch Mennonite artists (or those who were a part of Mennonite milieus, even though they might not have been congregational members). The list is far from exhaustive, but it provides a quick sense of just how involved in the arts Mennonites were. For more details about Mennonite artists, or Anabaptist portrayed in art, click the tags “art” or “portrait”. Read more

Münster / Monster: A Storify Post


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Executed today: 4 June 1535

Inspired by the Twitter hashtags #executedtoday and #onthisday, I have been looking through the Global Anabaptist-Mennonite Encyclopedia Online ( from time to time. Today I came across this note in the GAMEO article by Irwin Horst on “England”:

The first Anabaptists in England, according to various polemical treatments written in the 17th century and later, came from Holland subsequent to the seditious uprising at Amsterdam on 10 May 1535 (A Short History of the Anabaptists, 1642, 48). The source of this information is Lambertus Hortensius, a Dutch ecclesiastic and chronicler, who lived contemporary with the events and whose Tumultuum Anabaptisticarum was first printed at Basel in 1548, but he nowhere holds that these Anabaptists were the original ones in England. The 25 Dutch Anabaptists arrested and brought to trial at St. Paul’s on 25 May 1535, 14 of whom were condemned and burned at London and other English towns on 4 June 1535, may have been members of the party mentioned by Hortensius.

I am noting Horst’s work here so I can find it again on a rainy day and look into this further. Please let me know if you know anything more about the early history of English “Anabaptism”.