Evidence of Ana/Baptist Book Production, 1521-1700: Some Technical Notes

Evidence of Ana/Baptist Book Production, 1521-1700: Some Technical Notes

Last updated: 10 August 2022

Headline:

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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Background:

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.

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NEW: Special Issue of CHRC

We (my co-editors and I) are pleased to announce the publication of a Special Issue of Church History and Religious Culture (101: 2-3) that was released in late July 2021. The theme is “Spiritualism in Early Modern Europe.”

The collection features essays by Theo Brok, Michael Driedger, William Cook Miller, Francesco Quatrini, Nina Schroeder, Anselm Schubert, Christine Schulte am Hülse, Nigel Smith, James Stayer, Stefano Villani, Hans de Waardt, and Gary Waite. The guest editorial team consists of Driedger, Quatrini, Schroeder, and Waite. In addition to spiritualist cultures among Protestants in post-reformation England, Germany, and the Low Countries (approx. 1521-1721), the collection will be of interest to scholars of religious dissent and nonconformity, the variety of ways that researchers discuss “radicalism” in early modern religious cultures, and the debates about “the Radical Reformation” and “the Radical Enlightenment.”

You can link to the Special Issue by going to https://brill.com/view/journals/chrc/101/2-3/chrchttps://brill.com/view/journals/chrc/101/2-3/chrc.101.issue-2-3.xml. There you can find free downloads of the Special Issue introduction, plus several other Open Access articles. All of the other articles are available to CHRC subscribers, and the articles will soon be available through university library connections (after the embargo period).

The collection began at a symposium in Amsterdam in the summer of 2019. Other symposium contributors who have published related work in other venues and are therefore worthy of special attention from readers of this collection are:

We recommend their work highly!

The guest editorial team would like to thank the journal’s editors and production staff (Ward Holder and Dieuwertje Kooij in particular) for their work in guiding this collection from a proposal to publication!

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 (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 [1627]: 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.

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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 (gameo.org) 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”.