UNDER CONSTRUCTION…This is a draft post, started on Jan. 31, punk superstar John Lydon’s birthday (born 1956). Is it a coincidence that Menno Simons also died on Jan. 31? Weird, right? What could be weirder? Answer: The fact that Menno Simons shaped his career as a religious reformer around his reaction against the legacy and memory of Jan van Leiden (aka John of Leyden)!
This post shares images from a famous 19th-century German printmaker that depict Anabaptist rule at Münster in the 1530s. It also outlines how these images have been confused repeatedly as 16th-century images.
UPDATED: 1 Jan. 2023
On the 23rd of June, 2020, I gave a paper via remote link to an audience at the Europa Universität in Frankfurt / Oder. The talk is entitled:
Reflections on The Pursuit of the Millennium, Europe’s Inner Demons, and The War on Heresy: Six-Word Arguments to Highlight Norman Cohn’s Divergent Legacies. (The orange text is important when you peruse the Prezi frames.)
I used the Prezi below in the presentation. You can explore it on your own by going to https://prezi.com/raocgxnxjxkv/. There are many frames that I did not discuss in detail.
If you would like to read my presentation, you can find it by opening the rest of this post.
UPDATE from 27 May 2021: I have changed the title of this post (although the URL remains the same). The original post indicated that the YouTube video and other parts of the post were related to a June 2020 presentation (Vortrag) I was making at the Europa-Universität in Germany.
UPDATE from 24 June 2020: I have put the recording of my presentation on YouTube. The text below is a close but not exact transcript of the presentation.
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.
Update planned, Jan. 2023
Since 25 June is the anniversary of the fall of Münster to siege forces, I have brought this post from June 2015 to the top of the blog, and I have updated the post in a few places.
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”.
(Click the images for more details.)