Reformers, Radicals, Revolutionaries
Anabaptism in the Context of the Reformation Conflict
by Abraham Friesen
Abraham Friesen is one of the foremost scholars of Erasmus’s influence on the Swiss Brethren and Menno Simons. This achievement is the foundation for Reformers, Radicals, and Revolutionaries: Anabaptism in the Context of the Reformation Conflict. Friesen distills the debate about “penance” and “repentance” with clarity and insight, demonstrating its seminal significance for Anabaptist ecclesiology. With meticulous reference to the sources, he dissects Augustine’s interpretation of the parable of the wheat and tares as defended by both Luther and Müntzer. His argument sheds new light not only on the emerging ecclesiological difference between the magisterial and radical reformers but also on the conflict between peaceful and revolutionary Anabaptists.
With characteristic verve, Friesen plunges into the well-worn debates surrounding the Anabaptist movement and emerges with a host of fresh insights. Here you will find an ardent defense of Anabaptist convictions presented not as a subset of “distinctives” within a larger framework of universal Christian principles, but as an effort to live in purity according to the model of Christ and the apostles. Friesen’s wide-ranging engagement with the primary sources, his capacious understanding of Reformation scholarship, and his confident argumentative style make this book a delightful and provocative read!—John D. Roth, Goshen (Indiana) College
About the author
Abraham Friesen is Professor of Renaissance and Reformation History, Emeritus, at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author of the following major studies: Reformation and Utopia: The Marxist Interpretation of the Reformation and Its Antecedents (1974); Thomas Müntzer, A Destroyer of the Godless (1990); History and Renewal in the Anabaptist/Mennonite Tradition (1994); Erasmus, the Anabaptists, and the Great Commission (1998); and In Defense of Privilege: Russian Mennonites and the State before and during World War I (2006). He and his wife, Gerry, now live in Fresno, California.