Owen Chadwick

in The Early Reformation on the Continent

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780198269021
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600470 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church


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The German Peasants’ War of 1525 showed the link between religious and social questions, and seemed to justify the Catholic claim that Luther's teaching would lead to social disorder, and therefore speeded up the process by which the Reformed church was organized systematically. Anabaptists had already existed before 1525 and then appeared independently, principally in southern Germany and Switzerland, mostly conceiving of the Church as an elite group within or on the fringes of society. Early Anabaptist groups survived persecution and attracted popular support, but they, divided on the issues of the rightful place of the state, excommunication from the community, the community of goods, and what would happen in Anabaptists, found themselves in government. The episode of the apocalyptic ‘kingdom’ of Münster in 1534–35 almost destroyed quietist anabaptism, but in northwest Germany and the Netherlands it was saved by the efforts of Menno Simons.

Keywords: anabaptism; Münster; Peasants’ War; Menno Simons

Chapter.  15831 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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