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Swiss-south german Anabaptism, 1526–1540

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Chapter Summary

The years 1526 to 1540 were years in which Anabaptism in the Swiss Confederation and the southern parts of the Holy Roman Empire took shape as a non-territorial gathered church, without fixed inner denominational divisions. After 1526 Anabaptism had the possibility of unfolding only as a nonconformist religious movement subjected to persecution, whether mild or fierce, from the political authorities. Many persons who had stood under the influence of the Saxon radicals, Thomas Müntzer and Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, or had participated in the uprisings of the Peasants’ War, now came to regard the Anabaptists as the successors of Müntzer’s covenant of the elect or of Karlstadt’s lay-intiated Reformation. The most important of these new Anabaptists who had read the books of Müntzer and Karlstadt were Hans Denck, Hans Hut and Melchior Rinck. Each of the three was a distinct kind of Anabaptist leader. This chapter focuses on Hut.

Keywords: Anabaptism; Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt; German reformation; Hans Hut; Peasants’ War; religious movement; Roman Empire; Swiss Confederation; Thomas Müntzer



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