Thoughts about the SCSC Session: “New Approaches to the Radical Reformation”

Thoughts about the SCSC Session: “New Approaches to the Radical Reformation”

Here are a few bibliographical notes related to my contribution to the roundtable on 1 Nov. 2018 in Albuquerque, NM…

I have 3 proposals for the future of Radical Reformation Studies:

  1. Scholars shouldn’t study the Radical Reformation any longer, except as a once-inspiring and now very problematic heuristic tool or historiographical category.
  2. In its place, scholars of early modern “radicalism” (however understood) should study the transformation of new religious movements into established churches, which in turn were challenged in time by movements of reformers / freethinkers / heretics / dissenters / competing factions (or whatever).
  3. The study of transformations from movements to institutions to movements puts the study of heresy and dissent into a broader framework by reconnecting it with the study of confessionalization / confessional cultures, and by encouraging scholar of the German Reformations to join conversations with other scholars of early modern radicalisms.

  1. Scholars shouldn’t study the Radical Reformation any longer, except as a once-inspiring and now very problematic heuristic tool or historiographical category.
    • M. Driedger, “Against ‘the Radical Reformation’: On the Continuity between Early Modern Heresy-Making and
      Modern Historiography” in Radicalism and Dissent in the World of Protestant Reform. Eds. Bridget
      Heal and Anorthe Kremers. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, pp. 139-161.
    • M. Driedger, “Thinking inside the Cages: Norman Cohn, Anabaptist Münster, and Polemically Inspired Assumptions about Apocalyptic Violence” in Nova Religio 21:4 (May 2018), 38-62.
  2. In its place, scholars of early modern “radicalism” (however understood) should study the transformation of new religious movements into established churches, which in turn were challenged in time by movements of reformers / freethinkers / heretics / dissenters / competing factions (or whatever).
    • Specifically on this dynamic in early 16th-century German history, see Hans-Jürgen Goertz’s work on religious movements, the radical Luther, anticlericalism, and Reformation history in general.
    • For a general sociological view of this dynamic in Christianity, see the work of David Martin, the British sociologist of religion. A good introduction is David Cayley’s interview with Martin (https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-myth-of-the-secular-part-2-1.3143513).
    • For more about this dynamic in early modern dissenter communities (mostly in 17th-century Amsterdam), see the work of Leszek Kolakowski (Christians without churches, and the antinomies of religious freedom).
  3. The study of transformations from movements to institutions to movements puts the study of heresy and dissent into a broader framework by reconnecting it with the study of confessionalization / confessional cultures, and by encouraging scholar of the German Reformations to join conversations with other scholars of early modern radicalisms.
    • Nicholas Terpstra. Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World: An Alternative History of the Reformation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
      • For an even more global view, see Merry Wiesner-Hanks, ed., Religious Transformations in the Early Modern World: A Brief History with Documents. Boston and New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2009.
    • Glenn Burgess and Matthew Festenstein, eds., English Radicalism, 1550-1850. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
    • Ethan Shagan, The Rule of Moderation: Violence, Religion, and the Politics of Restraint in Early Modern England. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
    • Margaret Jacob, The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons, and Republicans. London: Allen & Unwin, 1981.
    • Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Other links:

  • “Amsterdamnified”: Gary Waite and Mike Driedger’s collaborative research project on “Religious Dissenters, Spiritualist Ideas and Urban Associationalism in the Emergence of the Early Enlightenment in England and the Low Countries, 1540-1700” (http://amsterdamnified.ca/project/)
  • Special issue special issue on “Reframing the History of New Religious Movements,” Nova Religio 21:4 (May 2018) (available for free online at http://nr.ucpress.edu/content/21/4/5)
  • Emodir: The Research Group in Early Modern Dissents and Radicalism (https://emodir.hypotheses.org/)

 

Radical Reformation panel ideas

This post is a list of ideas in preparation for a panel on the future of “Radical Reformation Studies” that will be held at the 16th Century Studies Conference in Albuquerque, NM, in early November 2018.

…MORE COMING SOON…

Jacob Aertsz Colom, Dutch Mennonite Anticonfessionalism, and the Persistence of Dissent in the 17th Century

Jacob Aertsz Colom, Dutch Mennonite Anticonfessionalism, and the Persistence of Dissent in the 17th Century

The text below dates from 2013. It is the previous unpublished version of a paper I presented at the annual meeting of the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the moment there are no notes with the text. I plan to update the text to include at least a bibliography. The title of the paper I presented in San Juan is “Mennonite Printers, Anticonfessionalism, and the Persistence of Dissent in the Netherlands.” Except for updating the title for this post, I have only edited the text of the 2013 paper very lightly.

Part of the reason for publishing the 2013 paper as a blog post now is that my grad student, Brookelnn Cooper, is finishing off her MA research paper, and she is making the case for Colom as the printer / publisher of Menno Simons’ Blasphemy. For more about the Blasphemy, see my post about it here.

Image details coming soon…

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Heresy / Hairesy

Heresy / Hairesy

The theme of CBC Radio’s Podcast Playlist from 8 March 2018 is the cultural meaning of hair (“Long, Short, Straight, Curly: Podcasts about Every Type of Hair”). What do parts on the right versus the left mean? How are curls or straight hair related to political views? What about hair’s role in group and personal identity (e.g., Black and Jewish cultures of hair)? One purpose of this blog post is recommend this excellent episode of the show.

A second purpose is to gather and eventually add some further thoughts about the cultural meaning of hair in the study of early modern heresy and dissent. Gary Waite’s writing about visual depictions of wild heretics is part of my inspiration for the idea, as is my own recent far-too-long hair and experiments with a beard. For the former, see Gary Waite, “Naked Harlots or Devout Maidens? Images of Anabaptist Women in the Context of the Iconography of Witches in Europe, 1525–1650” in Sisters: Myth and Reality of Anabaptist, Mennonite, and Doopsgezind Women, ca 1525-1900 (2104).

This is a post-in-progress. Suggestions are welcome! Post them in the comments section of this webpage, or send them to @Mike_Driedger or @Amsterdamnified on Twitter. For more ideas, expand the post.

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New publications about Ana/baptist Münster

New publications about Ana/baptist Münster

NOTE: This post will focus on literature from approximately the last 10 years (i.e., since the publication of Bernhard Rothmann and the Reformation in Münster).

More literature is on the way. Stay tuned. (LAST UPDATED: 12 May 2018)

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Using Zotero

Using Zotero

This is a quick introduction to using Zotero, a bibliographic tool that is unique and powerful because it allows for individual and collaborative work. This is an early draft of a page that will eventually be available at the Amsterdamnified Project webpage. Since that page is undergoing some maintenance, I’m starting the page here. I’m making this draft for Gary Waite’s graduate students at the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton, and for my undergraduate students at Brock University. Read more

Family history mystery

Family history mystery

What’s your family history mystery? One of mine has to do with this photo.

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Conference poster: “Refusing to Fight” (Brock University, Oct. 2018)

The Blasphemy of Jan of Leiden: A research plan

The Blasphemy of Jan of Leiden: A research plan

ORIGINAL POST (May 2017): 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.

UPDATE (April 2018): The transcription project is still in planning. Brookelnn Cooper has completed her archival research and is now working on her MA paper, tentatively titled “Identifying the Anonymous Printer of Menno Simons’ The Blasphemy of Jan van Leiden (1627): A Typographical Analysis.”

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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 (iahr2015.org). 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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