Anabaptism  

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"I flew me over to Munster in Germany, which an Anabaptistical brother named John Leyden kept at that instant against the Emperor and the Duke of Saxony. Here I was in good hope to set up my staff for some reasonable time, deeming that no city would drive it to a siege except they were able to hold out, and prettily well had these Munsterians held out, for they kept the Emperor and the Duke of Saxony play for the space of a year, and longer would have done but that Dame Famine came amongst them, whereupon they were forced by messengers to agree upon a day of fight when, according to their Anabaptistical error they might all be new christened in their own blood." --The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe, describing the events of the Münster Rebellion.


See also: Peasants' War, Radical Reformation

This page Anabaptism is a part of the protestantism series.  Illustration: The image breakers, c.1566 –1568 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder
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This page Anabaptism is a part of the protestantism series.
Illustration: The image breakers, c.15661568 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Anabaptists (Greek ανα (again) +βαπτιζω (baptize), thus, "re-baptizers", are Christians of the Radical Reformation. Various groups at various times have been called Anabaptist, but this article focuses primarily on the Anabaptists of 16th century Europe.

The term "anabaptist" comes from the practice of baptizing individuals who had been baptized previously, often as infants. Anabaptists believe infant baptism is not valid, because a child cannot commit to a religious faith, and they instead support what's called believer's baptism.

The word anabaptism is used in this article to describe any of the 16th century "radical" dissenters, and the denominations descending from the followers of Menno Simons. Today the descendants of the 16th century European movement (particularly the Baptists, Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Brethren in Christ) are the most common bodies referred to as Anabaptist.

Münster Rebellion

Münster Rebellion

A second and more determined attempt to establish a theocracy was made at Münster in Westphalia (1532–5), led by Bernhard Rothmann, Bernhard Knipperdolling, Jan Matthys and John of Leiden.

Popular culture

  • Voltaire's novella Candide features a character named James, who identifies himself as an Anabaptist and helps the eponymous protagonist and his teacher Pangloss but later drowns in Lisbon harbor.
  • The novel Q, by the collective known as "Luther Blissett" features an Anabaptist as the central character and is set in the 16th century, touching on key elements of Anabaptist history such as the siege of Munster.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Anabaptism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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