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Anabaptists: A Special Case?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a new perspective on the Anabaptists by re-locating the movement in the setting of the early Reformation city and shifting the focus to other aspects of the movement, such as how people came to join the Anabaptists and how they interacted with others. It focuses on the members themselves, their relations with each other and with other citizens, and gives a sense of how religious communities form and how individual members interact with each other and with non-members. Three observations become clear. First, people associated with or disassociated themselves from Anabaptists to varying degrees. Second, the social networks of the early modern city shaped and nourished the Anabaptist movement. Third, the relationship between the city government and the movement reveals the former?s surprising hesitancy to condemn despite the apparent harshness of its prosecution in 1528.

Keywords: Anabaptist movement; religious communities



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