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The spiritualist Anabaptists

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Chapter Summary

Historians do not universally agree upon a clear delineation of who was and was not a Spiritualist Anabaptist, and by what criteria they are to be included in this category. Part of the problem in categorizing the Spiritualist Anabaptists stems from the fact that we are not dealing here with a carefully formulated historical designation. The term Spiritual Anabaptist combines two distinct groups in Ernst Troeltsch’s schematization of the Radical Reformation, some of whose characteristics are thought to be mutually exclusive. The difficulty in identifying Spiritualist Anabaptists involves fundamental questions about the definition of the term, its relationship to Spiritualism and Anabaptism, and possibly even its viability as a distinct typology. The concept of Spiritualist Anabaptists potentially covers the full range of Anabaptists who fall between the most extreme biblicist and spiritualist ends of Klaassen’s scale. This makes the Spiritualist Anabaptists a much more common, and much more influential, occurrence.

Keywords: biblicist; Ernst Troeltsch; radical reformation; Spiritualist Anabaptists; Walter Klaassen



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