A mainstream assumption in Mennonite studies since the early 20th century (maybe the 1880s, more accurately) is that early modern Mennonite history (i.e., Mennonite history before 1800 or even 1900) was shaped primarily by German culture and German-language sources. This assumption is problematic because it is built on an empirically questionable foundation! In other words, the sources and evidence for this assumption are weak.
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I’m in the process of writing an article for the Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter on the theme of “1625”. What follows are some technical notes.
The German-language article will be titled “1625 – Das lange 17. Jahrhundert als eine Goldene Zeitalter täuferischer Buchproduktion“.
UPDATE (July 2022):
The German version of the essay is now scheduled for publication by about October 2022.
A Dutch version of the essay is now in the planning for publication at the very end of 2022 in the Doopsgezinde Bijdragen.
UPDATE (August 2022):
An English version of the essay is in the works with the title:
“1625, the Dutch Republic, and Book History: Perspectives for Reframing the Early Modern ‘Anabaptist’ Past.”
In preparation for the essay in its multiple versions, I did some careful counting of titles in two research bibliographies. The details are available below.
Iconoclash is a collection related to an exhibit from 2002 that is entitled “Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art” (https://zkm.de/en/event/2002/05/iconoclash). It was the ostensible subject for our wide-ranging and very productive discussions on Feb. 24 on related subjects.
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 It is the previous unpublished version of a paper I presented at the annual meeting of the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.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.
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 (Sept 2019): The transcription project is still in planning. Brookelnn Cooper has completed her MA research paper (“Identifying the Anonymous Printer of Menno Simons’ The Blasphemy of Jan van Leiden : A Typographical Analysis”) and her degree at Brock U, and she has begun doctoral studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, where she’s working with Jeffrey Collins.
Amsterdam’s Doopsgezind (aka Mennonite) church on the inner city canal ring called the Singel is a major landmark in the history of Dutch dissenters. Its modern address is Singel 452. The building did not and still does not look like a church from the outside. Since Mennonites did not enjoy rights of public worship in most part of the Netherlands until the 19th century, they usually made the outside of their meeting houses to look like a regular building (for more, see the Wikipedia article on clandestine churches). The Singelkerk is a major example of a Dutch clandestine church.
The Singel Church was the epicentre of the so-called “War of the Lambs” in the middle of the 17th century (see the building’s symbol). Read more →
In America the Sun of Salvation has risen, which will shine its rays upon us provided we so desire. Only America can revive our Trade and our Shipping…. America provides us again, if we dare look at it, a striking proof of how Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. America can teach us how to resist the degeneration of National Character, how to check the corruption of morals, how to prevent bribery, how to choke off the seeds of tyranny and restore moribund Liberty to health.
The title of this post is an allusion to Steven Nadler’s A Book Forged in Hell. That 2011 book is about Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, a work that scandalized secular and ecclesiastical authorities in the later 17th century — and has influenced philosophers and historians in recent years. The purpose of this post is to share a bibliography compiled by Piet Visser and his students in the 1990s. Piet retired in June 2014 from his professorship at the Mennonite seminary at the Free University in Amsterdam. Before that he was the chief curator of rare books and professor of book history at the University of Amsterdam. It’s in this earlier role that the list that you can find below originated.
Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708) is a major figure in the world of European art history in the era of the Dutch Golden Age. What’s more, he played a significant role in Anglo-Dutch politics around the time of the Glorious Revolution as a supporter of William of Orange / William III. He’s been the subject of a significant number of exhibitions and academic studies recently. For example, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has just finished an exhibit on “The Book Illustrations of Romeyn de Hooghe” (13 Sept. 2014 to 25 Jan. 2015). In this post I introduce an anonymous etching that I think might be by him (or maybe by his student Adriaan Schoonebeek).
Note: Since first publishing this post I have updated it a few times. One revision was from Feb. 8, and more thorough revisions are from Feb. 11 and 23. The main change in the most recent, thorough revisions is to downplay the importance of the 1660 edition of Hortensius.
Henri Krop’s paper at the Faultline 1700 conference discussed shifting conceptions of religion in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His paper’s short title was “From Singular to Plural.” Inspired in part by his paper, I have tried out a new digital humanities tool from the DBNL, the online database for Dutch literature. The graph above shows the frequency across time of the keywords godsdienst (religion) in green and godsdiensten (religions) in blue. For more on the DBNL ngram viewer, see this video. I haven’t been able to figure out how to embed an active version of the tool in this blog. The data points on the graph are clickable, if you use it as intended at dbnl.org.