Johann Fabri's Justification concerning the execution of Balthasar Hubmaier.
Although the Loserth edition is adequate for examining Hubmaier's alleged involvement in the Peasants' War, the dedicatory letter and the final exhortation included in the more recent text by Laube provide additional insight into Fabri's reason for writing the Justification and its intended audience.
The most controversial matter in the Justification is Fabri's description of the period of Hubmaier's career as a reformer in Waldshut from the spring of 1523 until the end of 1525, including Hubmaier's involvement in the peasant uprisings of 1524-1525. The Justification contains information and allegations that have excited, disturbed and puzzled historians for decades.
The following introduction to these sources outlines some of the background and significance of the scholarly debate regarding Fabri's Justification. Although the full historiographical discussion cannot be given here in detail, in the end it appears as if the judgments of James Stayer, published in 1988 and 1991, offer the most convincing treatment of the document.
THE CREDIBILITY OF FABRI'S CLAIMS
Few Catholic writers were more competent than Fabri to address the circumstances of Hubmaier's execution. Fabri and Hubmaier were friends and fellow students at the University of Freiburg. Among all the Catholic reformers and controversialists, Fabri was likely the best informed regarding the differences among various reformation factions, and he spoke knowledgeably about the lack of unity among the early Anabaptists. At the same time, however, Fabri also described Hubmaier as the "fruit of Luther," that is, as one who fosters divisions, chaos and disregard for authorities--regardless of any actual connection to or theological dependence on Luther. Although Fabri accused Hubmaier of heresy, his main concern was to demonstrate that Hubmaier's execution was a consequence of his sedition as a leader of the Peasants' War.
Torsten Bergsten's analysis of the Justification in his 1961 biography of Hubmaier summarized the decades of scholarly debate and provided an overview of the relevant documents for comparing Fabri's claims with other evidence concerning Hubmaier's activities. The most important allegations--which, according to Fabri, Hubmaier himself confirmed--were Hubmaier's authorship of a Peasants' War document known as the "Letter of Articles," and his editing of another key document called the "Draft of a Constitution."
Bergsten took a skeptical approach to Fabri's claims, primarily on the grounds that Fabri lived too far from Waldshut during the period when Hubmaier was active with the Peasants' War to speak authoritatively on these matters. Nevertheless, Bergsten uncritically accepted the uncorroborated suggestion in Fabri's Defensio that Hubmaier contributed scriptural passages that supported the Twelve Articles of the Peasants. (7) He also granted that Hubmaier's alleged confession in the Justification was likewise credible. Bergsten regarded Fabri's account as trustworthy on several other crucial points as well. (8) At the same time, however, Bergsten dismissed Fabri's claim regarding Hubmaier's authorship of the Twelve Articles as "exceedingly improbable," arguing that the claim reflected bias and was not worthy of a more detailed examination--this despite the fact that Fabri insisted that his claims could be verified by documents he had read while visiting Waldshut in December 1525, which were apparently available for reference. Thus, on precisely the points where Fabri seemed most certain he could gain the confidence of a skeptical reader, Bergsten insisted that he was dissembling. Bergsten was even less open to the idea that Hubmaier played the role of "literary leader" of the peasant programs--a claim he considered to be an "impossibility." (9)
Historian James Stayer, by contrast, challenged Bergsten's reading of the Justification, particularly what appeared to be an arbitrary acceptance of several of Fabri's claims and rejection of others. In his first article dealing with Fabri's Justification in 1984, Stayer summarized the relevant historiography on Hubmaier's role in the Peasants' War and argued that Hubmaier had likely authored a peasants' league ordinance. (10) In a subsequent article, Stayer offered a more nuanced interpretation of Hubmaier's role in the Peasants' War based on his reading of a critical edition of the "Letter of Articles," newly edited by Gottfried Seebass. (11) Seen in the broader context of Anabaptist involvement in the Peasants' War uprisings, (12) Stayer's modified interpretation suggested that Fahri's report on Hubmaier's "legal testimony" (13) probably meant that "Hubmaier had a hand in the peasant articles of the [Upper Rhein] League Ordinance, although his elaborations of that document were apparently never printed." (14) That conclusion stems from the inference that "the printed ordinances from Upper Swabia were adapted and enlarged in various ways by a number of regional editors in the Upper Rhine area." (15) Thus Stayer argues that although Hubmaier did not author the Peasants' War documents in the way Fabri seemed to understand or imply, he nevertheless was likely the editor of the "Draft of a Constitution" and possibly copied the "Letter of Articles" in his own hand. (16) Thus, based on Stayer's reading, Fabri probably meant that Hubmaier had his hand in the peasant articles of the League Ordinance; but Fabri's suggestion that Hubmaier actually authored the Twelve Articles is far less plausible. Hubmaier's own confession seems to confirm this explanation, even if his role in composing the peasant articles was less significant than Fabri contended. (17) Still, the insight we gain from Fabri's allegation concerning Hubmaier's authorship of the "Draft of a Constitution" is that Hubmaier was the architect of a new political system in which a covenant or brotherhood (Bund) was formed, one that the peasants invited their rulers to join. If the ruler rejected the brotherhood, he could presumably be regarded as unjust and be deposed. (18)
Since the publication of his German Peasants' War and Anabaptist Community of Goods in 1991, Stayer's assessment has gone virtually unchallenged. A doctoral dissertation by Christoph Dittrich, published in 1991, failed to take note of Stayer's revised conclusions. (19) A more recent detailed treatment of the Justification by Mathilde Monge also assumes that Stayer's position remained unchanged from his 1984 article. (20)
WHY FABRI WROTE THE JUSTIFICATION
Historians have also not been of one mind as to Fabri's intentions for writing the justification. Bergsten reasoned that his aim was simply to "lay upon Hubmaier as much opprobium as possible for the Peasants' War, in an attempt to justify the death sentence." (21) Dittrich suggested that the reason why Fabri placed the stress more on rebellion than on heresy was due to the legalization of persecution of Anabaptists in Moravia in March 1528. (22) Monge agreed with Dittrich's explanation for the justification, arguing that Fabri had two goals: 1) to attach Anabaptists to Lutheranism; and 2) to secularize persecution charges so that it would not be a matter of heresy but of sedition, "replacing the [religious] controversy with the language of [political] violence." (23) Thus in the end, both Dittrich and Monge assert that Fabri's main target was the magisterial reformers, who, according to this logic, were to suffer the insult of being considered the source of the Peasants' War, perhaps with the presumption that Hubmaier's death would signal the end of Anabaptism. (24) This explanation is less convincing than Bergsten's, though Bergsten probably erred on the side of emphasizing Fabri's intention all future Anabaptists in the tract.
Fabri's own explanation for writing the Justification sheds some light on his motivation. As becomes clear in the translated text that follows, Fabri suggested that he did not write out of a personal desire to condemn, but rather in response to a request from Archduke Ferdinand. Fabri wrote the "summary of his misdeeds," using Hubmaier's own writings and other records, to create a report "for many people" that would allow this "heresy to be brought to judgement"--meaning he wanted regular Christians to hear the verdict and to be frightened by any association with Anabaptism. The fact that Fabri wrote it in German for a more popular audience also suggests that he was less concerned with his own need to justify the condemnation in a legal sense than he was with convincing the public of the intimate connection between heresy and political rebellion. He sought to convince readers that religious disunity and political rebellion were necessarily connected. In the justification Fabri did not focus primarily on the heretical aspects of Hubmaier's confessions or writings. Rather he sought to persuade readers that the execution was primarily a consequence of Hubmaier's seditious involvement in the Peasants' War. Thus, Fabri focused on Hubmaier's rebellious actions and on the connection between those actions and the equally rebellious character of the wider Anabaptist movement, which also rejected both established theological doctrine and socio-political conventions. (25) In other words, Ferdinand wanted to make an example of Hubmaier in an effort to root out the Anabaptist movement at its source. By branding Hubmaier as a political rebel, Ferdinand would forestall any attempt to turn Hubmaier into a martyr for the Anabaptist cause and force potential supporters to reveal their own sedition. (26)
Fabri was certainly not indifferent to Hubmaier's allegedly heretical teachings; but that is the reason that he produced the Defensio--written in Latin, for an educated readership who had a solid grasp of theological dogmatics.
Stayer has added an intriguing new dimension to the historiographical discussion of Fabri's intentions. Fabri's main concern, he suggests, was to charge Luther as the one primarily responsible for inciting the peasant insurrection and then to blame Hubmaier secondarily. (27) Since Fabri knew the differences between the various reforming camps better than any Catholic controversialist, it is unlikely that he genuinely believed that a direct, causal relationship existed between Luther and Hubmaier's alleged leadership in the Peasants' War. But by describing Anabaptism as "the fruit of Luther" in his concluding "Admonition"--where he also produced evidence about the unorthodox practices and beliefs of the Anabaptists--Fabri may have been attempting to damage Luther by connecting him with the sedition of Hubmaier and that of the peasants. (28)
Given the highly contested nature of historical interpretations of Hubmaier and his leadership in the Peasants' War and Anabaptist movement, the documents that follow should provide insights and enable English readers to better judge for themselves.
HUBMAIER'S ARTICLES OF RECANTATION (29)
Fabri's Defensio was published in Prague on July 1, 1528. A Latin text of almost 240 pages, it included a summary of what Fabri considered to be Hubmaier's final positions on key matters of dogma and practice. The Latin text with translation in English follows:
1. Primum multis ac gravibus He [Hubmaier] confirms that argumentis ostendit, solam fidem non faith alone does not suffice for satis esse ad animae salutem. the salvation of the soul. 2. Deinde bona opera, quae iam pridem Good works, which he first ab eo explosa erant, per eundem rejected, are reintroduced and reducta sunt et comprobata. validated. 3. Libertatem Christianam, a Luthero He condemned with hostility the tantopere laudatam, ac pertinacissime Christian freedom that Luther so defensam, etiam cum insectatione praised and defended so damnavit. vigorously. 4. Rursum incutiendum esse mentibus Once again, the fear and hominuum corruptorum metum dei ac reverence of God must be reverentiam, et summa ope adnitendum, impressed upon the minds of ut rectae conscientae aculei in corrupt men and so to endeavor intimis sensibus figantibus, sane that the stings of an upright quam efficacissimis rationibus conscience be fixed with the docuit, falso et impie, ut crederent greatest force in their inner omnia ex adamantina, quadam et senses. [Hubmaier] taught with inevitabili necessitate geri, contra exceedingly effective reasons vero solidissimis argumentis liberum that it was false and impious to arbitrium constabilivit, nixus believe that everything was authoritate utriusque testamenti. carried out with an adamant and inevitable necessity. To the contrary he used the authority of both testaments to establish free will with the most solid arguments. 5. Poenitentiam criminum cum Penitence due to transgressions resipiscentia vel ex Evangelio has become reasonable again and commonstravit. was demonstrated in the Gospel. 6. Sempiternum illibatae virginitatis Against the Helvidians (30) he decus beatissimae matris Mariae, has always vehemently defended contra Helvidianos acerrime defendit the eternal virginity that adorns the Blessed Mother Mary. 7. Simul Nestorianorum errorem, et Similarly, he denounces the nefandam opinionem refellens, error and the wicked view of the quiillam non [??] fuisse Nestorians, (31) who wickedly nefarie propare conati sunt. propogate [the idea] that Mary was not the Theotokos. 8. Perfidissimae hereseos authores He harshly condemns the qui asserverant Christum neque ipsum heretical authors who assert deum esse neque adeo dei filium, that Christ is neither God palinodia recitata insectatus est himself nor the son of God, 9. Neque infitias ivit purgatorii Nor does he deny the existence locum esse. of a place of purgatory. 10. Precationes Christi fidelium He confirmed the prayers of adprobavit. those who are faithful to Christ. 11. Confessionem praeterea sermone He affirmed the usefulness and factam apud sacerdotem tum utilem, necessity of confession and tum necessariam, et a Christo discussion with a priest as institutam esse asseveravit. something instituted by Christ. 12. Opinioni ineptae impiorum He vehemently rejects the quorundam, novissimum diem intra foolish and impious opinion that biennium affuturm sentientium, the Last Days will be within two vehementer est refragatus. years in the future. 13. Tum imaginariam illam ecclesiam, He rejects the idea of an ceu idaeam quandam derisit imaginary church. 14. et nullam esse fassus est, And he did not confess that the conservatam puellarum viduarumque preservation of virginity and pudicitiam deo immortali cum primis widowhood in modesty as being cordi esse. the most highly favored by immortal God. 15. Constanter credidit, ieiunia He has constantly believed and commendavit. counseled the [observance of] fasting. 16. Diem dominicum celebrandum esse He judges Sunday to be the day iudicavit. of celebration. 17. Esum carnium diebus, quibus He disapproves of eating meat on indicta sunt ieiunia improbavit. days when it is forbidden. 18. Excommunicationem suum robur ac He upholds excommunication and vires voluit obtinere. the ban. 19. Neque frustra esse sanctorum pro Nor is the intercession of the nobis depraecationes. saints done for us in vain. 20. Ad ultimum ita legum referentiam, Lastly, he holds the honorable authoritatem magistratuum, ac authority of the magistracy and principum potestatem extulit, ut the power of the princes, crederes, nil eius animo alienius believing in this way that there esse a seditione, et cupiditate rerum is nothing more alien to his novandarum. spirit than sedition, and the selfish desire for new things.
The Justification for Burning Balthasar Hubmaier, the Leader and Principal Instigator of the Anabaptists, in Vienna on March 10,1528
To the eminent and noble prince and lord, Sir George, Duke of Saxony, Landgrave of Thuringia and Margrave of Meissen:
I, Doctor Johann Fabri, wish grace and peace from God our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upon my most gracious lord.
Gracious prince and lord, due to the poison of Luther's teaching, many people have fallen into the depths of an unheard of heresy, unfortunately appearing as gospel truth. The curse of Isaiah has come upon them; namely, they have taken what is evil out of the good and have made good out of what is wrong. They have also made light out of the darkness and turned the darkness into light [Is. 5:20]; (32) and furthermore, they put lies in place of the truth [Rom. 1:25], flesh in place of spirit. To sum up, instead of love they uphold what is evil. Even though nothing other than the truth can adorn the word of the Lord, for that reason both of them (33) remain eternally. Yet the supporters of the new seductive teaching were so presumptuous as to establish nearly all of their affirmations upon the sandy soil of lies, which they inherited from their deceptive father, the devil [Jn. 8:44], as if the truth did not exist for them. From the start he was a liar even in paradise [Gen. 3, 4:19], and consequently, so many scandalous dialogues, books and leaflets have been issued recently, opposing the utter dignity of the Gospel. Even though these writings are numerous and varied, the problem is greater still. It has often been the case that when the Lutherans perceive that several members of their sect are punished with judgment and the law as heretics, rebels, mutineers, murderers and the like, they begin to cry out and write that such people have been wronged and that they are martyrs and saints before God. in this manner Luther handled the situation with those who in the Netherlands were punished by the government due to their heresy and wrongful actions. (34) Likewise it came to pass with the rebellious Muntzer. The same thing happened a few years ago in Vienna with Tauber, (35) who had fallen from the faith and plotted a rebellion. Since he despaired of God and damaged the holy faith (like the teaching of Petilian (36)), he was condemned to the flames. The Lutherans then included him in a calendar with red letters and established him as a saint. Yesterday, in like manner, Doctor Balthasar, the instigator and ringleader of all the Anabaptists and destroyers of sacraments, formerly the parish priest at Waldshut, was condemned to the flames in Vienna by a legal decree. No doubt the mutineers and the rebellious will, as is their custom, invent and propagate fictions suggesting that His Royal Majesty of Hungary and Bohemia, (37) my gracious lord, who is also the judge and councilor of Vienna, treated him unjustly, and that he died for the sake of the gospel as a true knight of Christ. But in order that his actions and his condemnable heresy be brought to judgment and that it be reported to many people, I wanted as a subject of Your Princely Grace to write a summary of his misdeeds, based on his own manuscripts and other records, such as Your Princely Grace in recent days so graciously besought. May it be pleasing therefore, that Your Princely Grace should desire, henceforth as hitherto, to be a steadfast defender of the old, indubitable and honorable faith. 1 have no doubt that this will be the case since it is for that reason that you commissioned me with the task I have hereby fulfilled.
Dated in Vienna, March 11,1528.
The Actions of Doctor Balthasar Hubmaier
Doctor Balthasar remained for many years a Christian teacher and priest in the Catholic Church, (38) which is the pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim. 3:15]. He taught the gospel in Freiburg im Breisgau according to the common Christian understanding, and from there went to lngolstadt, where he was a priest for many years. From there he was named a chaplain at Regensburg in the cathedral chapter, where he drove off the Jews, and built a chapel to "Mary the Beautiful" and also a pilgrimage shrine for her, and he erected a statue of Mary in front of that chapel.(39) However, he left Regensburg for Waldshut in order to engage in many practices and activities that were evil. He remained in a priestly capacity for a few years in that locale. He behaved well, especially as befits a Christian priest in regard to the sacraments of the Church, according to Christian custom. In particular, he considered it pious to establish a new ceremony for the most holy sacrament, whereby he took it under the entrance to the church as is the custom in the summer in that land. For Easter and for Holy Week, when he would give the sacrament to the faithful, as is permitted in Christian tradition, he always employed two people from the Council beside the altar. When he brought the sacrament to the sick, he did so with solemn processions and ceremonies.
But, now that Luther's damnable teaching broke forth, he thought, due to his innate, arrogant, evil spirit, just as Luther did, that in the manner of the man who set fire to the temple of Diana, he too could become immortal and rich. (40) In this way he reversed all the positions and teachings he held up until that point. Then he introduced new positions, although he never remained consistent on any of them but was forever flitting from one to the other (just like Luther, Zwingli and other such fanatical spirits). This is what he did first of all with the Mass, initially by using the Epistles and the Gospel in German, and then also reading the Mass in German. Furthermore, he changed the canon and subsequently, as soon as the Mass was established in German, he administered and distributed the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ in both kinds. (41) Last of all, he went even further than this to institute a new Lord's Supper, for which he taught that the sacrament on the altar was nothing other than mere bread and wine. (42) Although he continued for two years, despite everything, praising the Virgin Mary and the saints, venerating them and preaching that they are intercessors-and despite having observed everything according to Christian principles-nonetheless, in the end he began to hold meetings secretly and to foster disunity between the council and the common people [in Waldshut]. From, that point on, he led them away from the intercession of the Mother of God, omitted the Salve Regina (43) and allowed the eating of meat on Friday, Saturday and all other days. Furthermore, he rejected the Imperial Edict, saying that it was promulgated only in order that the ecclesiastical and secular [lords] could fill their bellies and purses with the blood of the poor and the products of their labors. In this way he declared to His Royal Majesty of Hungary and Bohemia that his majesty is a childish lord, a deceiver of his people, with these spiteful words: "You, who has the tongue of a viper, you cannot hurt me!"
And when he was called to appear before his Ordinary, the bishop of Constance, (44) [Hubmaier] replied that it did not suit him to appear before such a hypocrite.
And when His Royal Majesty no longer wanted to endure a rebel such as he at Waldshut, the Doctor led his party to swear together that they would not abandon him, and that they would murder anyone who tried to take him away. He also rallied the women, some of whom had weapons, to go to the city hall and once they brought it about that he could remain there, they ran to the bells and they joyfully sounded the chimes. Subsequently, once several people had arrived from the Black Forest towns which were subject to Waldshut, they brought it about that he surrounded himself with eighty men who marched in ranks of two with a drum in front of the inn to defy the envoys. When on further consideration it was decided that he should depart and be expelled from the city, he intrigued in order to remain. He subsequently imposed a peculiar practice, namely that each in turn would be taken in and questioned. If someone was part of the minority, who said that one should be obedient to His Royal Majesty, then the Waldshuters would take from him forty guilders (45) to give to Doctor Balthasar, as he attested in his own hand.
For a while when he was in Schaffhausen he wrote many times to several people in Waldshut, and he commanded that at the moment when the eminent and noble prince, Lord Ernst, Margrave of Baden, etc., my gracious lord, who went to Rheinfeld to call together a meeting in order to settle this matter,(46) wanting to negotiate so that several Swiss auxiliary troops would depart from Waldshut, the supporters [of Hubmaier] destroyed the images. And then on the night of that same day several persons who had accompanied the Doctor from Hallau (47) opened the gate and installed him in the town against the will of the council. That happened so that the Waldshuters would not be convinced by Margrave Ernst to obey His Royal Majesty, as they should their prince. And thus he began to preach once again in front of the Swiss in the church and elsewhere, to stir up rebellion. At his gathering at Schnabel and in other places he invented new ideas (48) to defame the pope, the emperor, king, etc., in the worst way. Elsewhere he asked who had chosen them to be princes and he began to teach how the common folk could establish a government, and how they could oust it, how the people should have no obligation to pay tithes, rents, (49) dues, etc. Furthermore, anyone who has paid enough interest to equal the principal of the debt should not be obligated to repay the debt. (50) Likewise, he taught that water, fish, wood, fields, wine, meadows, wild game and birds should be free for all, asking where it is written that fish, birds, forests, woods and wild game belong to the lords. Then he started to preach that since they had expelled the birds, how long did they want to tolerate the nests, or the little fly houses, meaning the altar and the baptistry. On this basis he abolished the baptism of infants. Then he was baptized and others with him, and he disposed of the baptistry and destroyed the altar.
He also had a musket in his house and with his armor he had a rifle, and perhaps a battle sword, with which he sat at the gates of the town. He helped by giving advice for the construction of the fortification and he said to the working people that it was providential that they were so well disposed for the job. On top of everything, he hurled insults at the "Big jacks" who were wearing ceremonial spurs and especially against His Royal Majesty's councilors, about whom anonymous songs were composed.
Once the peasants had moved into Waldshut, he called them to hear his sermons by beating a drum. He preached to the peasants that wild game, fish, birds, wine, meadows, forests and the like were free, and that they should not submit to property seizures and duties, etc. Also during the festival of Fassnacht (51) and at other times he consorted and conspired with the peasants. He also enabled several people to leave Waldshut in defiance of the noble landgrave, Rudolf von Sulz, of whom one was executed and two others had their fingers cut off.
Likewise, he sold the chalice, the altar vestments and other items from the church, from the proceeds of which he got a black gown, from which he fashioned a priestly robe for himself. Likewise, by the command of His Royal Majesty which was issued to the rulers in Innsbruck against Doctor Balthasar, it was discovered that when the city of Waldshut was conquered, Doctor Balthasar had left behind writings on the aims and undertakings of the peasants. They were composed on eight manuscript sheets, some written by the very hand of Doctor Balthasar, and others were written by the hand of others and then augmented (52) by him. In these he taught the following: that the people of every rural territory should come together and form a confederation. Supposedly, the time had come when God no longer tolerated the overworking, plundering, enslaving, imprisoning, compelling, forcing and other forms of tyranny performed by the secular lords; that they have acted toward the poor people just as Herod did toward the innocent children; and of this the murderous Duke of Lorraine, who is also over Alsace, Saverne and other places, gave an early demonstration. In order to put a stop to this we must come together and create [a political] order according to the Word of God. To this end the community should write to their governing authority once, then a second time, and then a third time, inviting them to join the brotherhood and union. If they do not consent, then it is permitted for a rural territory to take up the sword of the government and to give it to others. If the rural territory' does not do that, then they will be condoning the vices of the overlords. He also taught how one should establish a king, prince, duke and lord, namely, that if the people assemble themselves and they vow to keep the Word of God, one person should be elected from twelve nominated by the peasants--the nobles will not be considered for that [role]. And if that same person turns out to be incompetent, and thrice punished by the rural territory, that person may also be ousted. The residents of the rural territory should unite with each other in order to venture and offer up their lives, honor, possessions and blood.
Further, in the fourth chapter he teaches that if the ousted lords should wish to take revenge, then the new lord should put them under a secular ban, (53) and if the ban does not help, then the new lord should call up his population to arms or engage mercenary soldiers at the expense of the territory in order to deal with the malcontents (54) and exterminate the bloodthirsty tyrants.
Further on, Doctor Balthasar's manuscript indicates how one should win over villages, markets and towns, and he also extends a summons to the land for an uprising, with accompanying articles attached, dated from Waldshut. In order that everyone may know what the secular ban is, he wrote a special chapter for that purpose. Namely, in respect to anyone who is not, or does not want to be, in this alliance, one should not have anything to do with that person, neither in eating, drinking, bathing, milling, baking, nor in plowing, harvesting--food, grains, drinks, wood, meat--and such persons should be sent away together with their wives and children. And from that hour on a ban should be proclaimed against all castles, cloisters and priests' homes, and those who leave the castles and cloisters should move into common homes. Also, whoever shelters the banned persons should themselves be banned. And, in addition, he admonishes those others, who are on the side of the ousted prince, warning them as a matter of honor, with oaths and the highest obligations.
In these same articles there are so many unchristian, mutinous passages that I am neither able nor willing to write them out, lest evil should ensue from it. He did, moreover, send out instructions to Hall and other places, in which he produced particular peasants' articles, which appeared in print. For that reason the peasants in Stuhlingen and those of Klettgau were the first to rise up against the government. That was the origin of the wretched and horrifying uprising and bloodbath. Therefore it is justified that he too, after Luther, should bear the guilt for the unfortunate slaughter of more than a hundred thousand peasants, which produced many hundred thousand widows and orphans.
But when Waldshut was conquered again, he fled from Waldshut. Even though he removed all the images in the church, and destroyed and burned them, and preached very adamantly against them as idols, when the lords, the commissaries and myself arrived in Waldshut, we found in his house a beautiful and precious image of St. Joachim, and also a vesper icon, and one of St. Sebastian, which were fastened to a tree made of coral, which had at least twenty-four branches and was very expensive. The mentality of these destroyers of sacraments and images can be seen clearly in that they burn the cross and the image of the crucified Lord, and they trample them under foot in the church and in the streets. But in their boxes and secret coffers there are silver and other images, which are their true idols. In his escape [Hubmaier] went to Zurich, where Zwingli put him in prison because of his Anabaptism, and interrogated him to the accompaniment of torture for a long time until he recanted. And although he agreed to recant in public from the pulpit, he did just the opposite in front of several thousand people, so that he nearly incited a revolt in Zurich. For that he was once again imprisoned and severely shackled until he foreswore Anabaptism as a heresy.
Although it would have been good for him to keep his oath in mind, nevertheless he immediately went to Nikolsburg, where he once again preached and practiced Anabaptism, and published many books on the subject. In those books there are so many godless and frightful things that I am neither able nor permitted to retell them.
He also completely opposed the sacraments and other godly, Christian practices and truths, which he preached in connection with his heresy at Waldshut and other places. And consequently, since he was a rebel and an outright enemy of His Royal Majesty and the house of Austria--and due to this Anabaptism, mutiny, betrayal and the new insurrections that ensued in many places due to his incitement--His Royal Majesty had him imprisoned and taken to Vienna.
He remained there for several days and for various reasons was subsequently taken to the castle Kreuzenstein. Then, when he saw that his evil, wrong, seditious actions had been identified, he wished for His Royal Majesty to be merciful toward him and to send me to him before his death, so that were he instructed in a better way by me, he might wish to recant his errors. And although His Royal Majesty was not obligated to do such a thing, nevertheless out of his inbred goodness and mild nature, for the sake of the salvation of his soul and the souls of many others, he asked me to leave Gran in Hungary on December 24 last year, and three days later I came to him [Hubmaier]. Alongside Doctor Ambrose Saltzer and Doctor Marx Bock von Leopoldsdorf, the governor of Austria, I engaged him in a discussion concerning various articles in a virtuous manner. He considered these and produced Twenty-Four Articles (55) according to his way of understanding, which he sent to His Royal Majesty. For the most part he wrote against the Lutherans. Undoubtedly if he were to bring these Twenty-Four Articles, which he wrote with his own hand, to preach them or to propagate them in written form at Wittenberg or another place where this condemned sect has taken hold, then Luther himself would surely stone him.
But concerning the two articles on infant baptism and the sacrament, he certainly yielded, stating that concerning these he was willing to suspend his activity [stillstehen] (56) until a future council, adding that if His Royal Majesty did not want to wait until such a time, he would put his opinion in writing, and that in all these things he would follow the judgment of His Royal Majesty and his councilors, which is attested and contained in the writing which he composed with his own hand.
And since his actions were so evil, seductive and seditious, His Royal Majesty, as a righteous king, was neither able nor willing to overlook them, because [Hubmaier] needed to be punished for his exceedingly evil deeds, by which he instigated the peasants' uprising. Thus His Majesty, on the basis of his actions, confessional statement, legal testimony and his own writings, brought him to stand before judges and the council, and his judgment, which follows hereafter, was read publicly before thousands of people, and was sent to me by the judge of the city of Vienna.
The Judgment, as it was read publicly:
First, Doctor Balthasar Hubmaier confessed that he preached revolutionary things against the authorities in Waldshut, which was not in the service of peace but was something contrary to God, the law and his conscience, from which there arose much enmity and rebellion against the government, along with much bloodshed.
Likewise, he further confessed that he advised the Waldshuters and helped them write letters to His Royal Majesty, then His Princely Eminence, which served insubordination more than obedience.
Likewise, he further confessed that he visited the above-mentioned inhabitants of Waldshut in their houses and told them that their cause was right and justified and that they should be ready to live and die for it. He also counseled and assisted them twice in swearing an oath together, that all of them should defend one another against anyone who did not allow them to keep the teachings that he preached. He also confessed that in that regard he was acting against God and his conscience and against the government.
Likewise, he made a further confession concerning the peasants' articles, which he gathered from those in the army, (57) and then expanded and interpreted them. Then he convinced them to accept [the articles] as Christian and just. He further confessed that in so doing he erred and did wrong.
Likewise, he further confessed how it came about that many people who were part of the government of the city of Waldshut went to Lauffenberg. Meanwhile he and Hans Muller, a master builder who took over the role of mayor, called the community into the city hall and then showed everyone, at the order of the [Waldshut] council and court, the treaty they had concluded with the confederation of the empire, which was ready to attack the city and punish the citizens in the name of His Royal Majesty, who at that time was His Princely Eminence. If anyone of them did not want to submit to this, they could move out of the city until the situation was improved. Then Doctor Balthasar publicly took leave from everyone, went home and said that he would not be a part of the accord. After breakfast the next morning he left the city. Then he traveled to Zurich and was imprisoned on account of his Anabaptism (58) because it was opposed by Zwingli, whom the people of Zurich followed. Then [Hubmiaer] was tortured (59) in Zurich because of his Anabaptism and required to declare who had moved him to such a baptism and which people he had baptized in Zurich territory. He made a public recantation of [his opposition to] infant baptism.
Likewise, he further confessed that he preached, counseled and acted as he did because he wanted to have a good life and to be a lord. He confessed that in such matters he had acted wrongly, and that their reason and purpose was to get rid of the government, and in its place to create and elect one that was solely under themselves.
Likewise, Doctor Balthasar further confessed that he did not venerate the sacrament of the altar, nor abide by infant baptism.
Therefore, due to these misdeeds and his condemned heresies, Doctor Balthasar was sentenced to be burned. Even though in his writings--both in those which are available and in those which he recently penned--he accepted priestly confession and praised it highly and grounded it upon the Gospel, just like Luther, he still did not even want to give his own confession. He persisted and died as a heretic while still holding to these two heresies: Anabaptism and that concerning the sacrament [of the eucharist].
I have not recounted these things out of rejoicing for his death, because when I was with him in prison, I warned him earnestly and also dealt with him with the utmost Christian humility, which he attests with his own writing that he left behind. But in view of the fact that many people are stubborn and perverse, mouth-Christians, (60) and in many places people will say that he was done an injustice, and he was a martyr before God--that he was burned innocently like Jan Hus--for that reason I have provided this brief summary, wanting to disclose his actions for the sake of truth and justice. Whoever has any doubt about this can and will find it confirmed in the chancellery of His Royal Majesty of Hungary and Bohemia, where his confession can be found, which was written by the hand of Doctor Balthasar.
Admonition to the old [Catholic], devout, pious Christians
It should be proper for all Christian hearts to rejoice greatly in the old, unquestionable faith, and to give thanks eternally to the almighty, eternal God that they have not fallen away from the holy, harmonious and Christian Church during these fractious, godless times, and also that they have not fallen into the pit of errors. (61) One should know, moreover, that those who are given over to Luther's teaching not only need to accept and observe a different belief every year, but every month, every day and every hour, and what is right today will be wrong tomorrow. What is affirmed today is denied tomorrow, straightaway. This was unheard-of by our ancestors, who preserved an unwavering faith in the same way as the first Christians in Jerusalem, as if they were of one soul, one heart. This is a true sign, the lodestar, which shows that the Holy Spirit guided our ancestors and preserved them in the faith. But these sects, which have appeared so recently, not only reawakened the ancient heresies, which were already condemned in the past, but they also brought forth from the depths of hell new, unheard of, horrific errors and evils, to the point that there were as many beliefs as there were countries, cities, towns, houses and people. They have joked around so long with the Gospel to the point that one segment of the Anabaptists has turned away from the New Testament and another from the Old. Some of them maintain that Christ will return at Pentecost, and others hold that he will return next year at Pentecost. They hold all their belongings in common in the same way as the Nicolites did (what a shame), which is well known. (62) Several of them say there is no hell, and many of the Anabaptists have completely turned away from their faith and say there is no God. Such as these are the fruit of Luther. Therefore you, who are built upon the true rock and remain within the Church, which is a pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim. 3:15], do not let yourselves be seduced by the false prophets, whom Christ, Peter and Paul foretold, and wait with patience even if you are already being tempted by the godless Anabaptists (who would be pleased to rally up another revolt and blood-bath like in the previous years). Therefore I wish to bring the truth into the light, should God wish it to be so, about the unheard-of evil, the horrific mutiny, murder and other things done by these disciples of Luther, so that you will know to protect yourselves from these snakes or the vipers that are lurking in nooks and corners.
I remain hopeful that God will mete out his mercy so that those who have been blinded by Luther's impurity--just like the people of Sodom-will be enlightened once again, and the scales will fall from their eyes. In particular, they should see that love and fear please God, those who would extinguish the lamp of conscience in many places, just like the foolish virgins. (63) In summary, not much good, but everything evil will grow out of this worm-infested, but outwardly flourishing, fig tree. Finally, the main issue to consider is that all government and respectability are in danger of destruction. I do not say this out of envy, but out of that which moves me to the love of Christ and his holy faith. May God provide his grace and peace on earth, Amen.
To God alone be the glory.
Prof. Jonathan Seiling, 73 Dufferin St., St. Catharines, ON, Canada, L2R 1Z9. E-mail: email@example.com
* Jonathan R. Seiling is a research fellow at the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies in Toronto and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies in Toronto. I wish to express gratitude to James Stayer for his many suggestions on the translation of the Ursach, which have greatly improved its clarity.
(1.) Johann Fabri, bishop of Vienna after 1530, is also referred to as "Faber" and his native "Heigerlin," "Heierlein" or "Haigerlin." He should not be confused with any of his similarly named contemporaries: Johann Faber of Heilbronn, Johann Faber of Werdea, Johann Faber Emmeus or Johann Schmidt, whose name would also be translated into Latin as "Faber" or "Fabri." The best overview of Fabri's reforming career in English is the article by Peter G. Bietenholtz, "Johannes Fabri of Leutkirch," in Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), 2:5-8. Cf. Christian Neff and Johann Loserth, "Faber, Johann," in Mennonite Encyclopedia (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1956), 2:285-286. There is also a dissertation in English concerning his role in the First Zurich Disputation - Keith Lewis, "Johann Faber and the First Zurich Disputation, 1523: A Pre-Tridentine Catholic's Response to Ulrich Zwingli and His 67 Articles" (Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, 1985). The best overview of his life in German is still L. Helbling, Dr Johann Fabri, Bischof von wien, 1478-1541 (Munster: Aschendorff, 1941). On his later reforming career and an updated bibliography, see Christian Radey, "Dr. Johann Fabri, Bischof von Wien (1530-1541). Wegbereiter der Katholischen Reform, Rat Konig Ferdinands," (Ph.D. diss., University of Vienna, 1976). The fullest treatment of Fabri's early career and critique of Luther can be found in P. R. Staub, Dr Johann Fabri, Generalvikar von Konstanz (Einsiedeln: Verlagsanstalt Benziger, 1911).
(2.) It was first published in Dresden at the press of Melchior Lotter in 1528 and reissued shortly thereafter, with few changes other than orthography, in Landshut at the press of Johann Weissenburger.
(3.) The full title is Doctoris joannis Fabri Adversus Doctorem Balthasarum Pacimontanum, Anabaptistarum Nostri Saecnli, Primum Anthorem, Orthodoxae Fidei Catholica Defensio (Leipzig, 1528). I am grateful to Martin Rothkegel for making his copy of the Defensio available to me. Both of these documents differ from a handwritten confession in German that Hubmaier allegedly produced while in prison. Published as "Eine Rechenschaft des Glaubens. 3. Januar 1528" in Balthasar Hubmaier, Schriften, Quellen zur Geschichte der Taufar IX, ed. Gunnar Westin and Torsten Bergsten (Gutersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1962), 458-491, that confession appeared in translation as "Apologia" in Balthasar Hubmaier, Balthasar Hubmaier: Theologian of Anabaptism, ed. and trans. H. Wayne Pipkin and John. H. Yoder (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1989), 524-562. Scholars do not believe that it was written in Hubmaier's own hand. Yoder and Pipkin imply that the purpose of the Apologia was to satisfy the authorities and therefore lament that it "did not prevent his execution." (p. 525) However, given that the Apologia and the justification both attest to Hubmaier's willingness to suspend his activities [stillstehen] until a future General Council, the Apologia constitutes neither a confession nor a recantation; rather it was a final attempt to negotiate a magisterial settlement on the questions of baptism and the Lord's Supper.
(4.) The translation of Ursach as justification does not conform to that of some previous scholars who variably refer to it as the Cause or Reason. Mathilde Monge calls it in French, a "requisitoire," emphasizing its intended status as a legal document.--Monge, "Une representation catholique de I" anabaptism en 1528," (M. A. thesis, University Paris 1, 2001), 76. Thus in English a title such as "arraignment" or "indictment" might also be appropriate.
(5.) Johann Loserth, Doctor Balthasar Hubmaier and die Anfange der Wiedertaufe in Mahren (Brunn: Rohrer, 1893), 210-216.
(6.) Adolf Laube, ed. and comp., Flugschriften vom Bauernkrieg zum Tauferreich (Berlin: Akademie Verlag GmbH, 1992), 1580-1604. Mathilde Monge subsequently produced the first translation into French in her unpublished M.A. thesis. For the present translation I have relied primarily upon the edition found in Mathilde Monge, "Une representation catholique de 1"anabaptism en 1528," (M.A. thesis, Universite Paris I, 2001).
(7.) Bergsten, Hubmaier: Seine Stellung, 283, fn. 37; also in the abbreviated translation, Bergsten, Hubmaier: Anabaptist Theologian, 215, citing the Defensio, Cglr.
(8.) "According to the contents of both [The Twelve Article of the Peasants and the Defensio], Hubmaier recognized the peasants' articles as being scriptural and just"--Bergsten, Hubmaier: Anabaptist Theologian, 216; cf. Bergsten, Hubmaier: Seine Stellung, 285.
(9.) Bergsten, Hubmaier: Anabaptist Theologian, 212.
(10.) James Stayer, "Radical Early Zwinglianism: Balthasar Hubmaier, Faber's Ursach and the Peasant Programmes," in Huldrych Zwingli, 1484-153: A Legacy of Radical Reform, ed. E. Furcha (Montreal: Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, 1984), 67-70; translated as James M. Stayer, "Radikaler Fruhzwinglianismus: Balthasar Hubmaier, Fabers "Ursach" und die Programme der Bauern," Mennonitisiche Geschichtsblatter 42 (1985), 48-50.
(11.) James Stayer, "Anabaptists and Future Anabaptists in the Peasants" War," MQR 62 (April 1988), 99-139. The final form of Stayer's analysis appears as chapter 3 in James M. Stayer, The German Peasants' War and Anabaptist Community of Goods (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991), 65-71. See Gottfried Seebass, Artikelbrief, Bundesordnung and Verfassungsentwurf. Studien zu drei Zentralen Dokumenten des sudwestdeutschen Bauernkrieges (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1988), 67-68.
(12.) He noted, for example, that "most scholars currently active in Anabaptist studies think that there is a significant connection between Anabaptists and the Peasants' War." Stayer, The German Peasani' War, 61. Stayer includes a long list of references to the works of John Oyer, Walter Klaassen, Gottfried Seebass, Arnold Snyder, Hans-Jurgen Goertz, Martin Haas and Werner Packull, in addition to his own previous scholarship on this matter. He further argues that "by far the most prominent Anabaptist leader who was associated with the Peasants' War while he was an Anabaptist (instead of joining the Anabaptists after the end of the Peasants" War) was Balthasar Hubmaier of Waldshut."- Stayer, The German Peasants' War, 65. Arnold Snyder lent further support to the connection between Hubmaier's leadership and the rise of "majoritarian Anabaptism" alongside the theology of early Anabaptism in general, making an assessment of his role in the Peasants" War all the more important for understanding both his pre-Anabaptist career, his role as an Anabaptist leader and author of some of the most formative writings within the early movement. See C. Arnold Snyder, "The Birth and Evolution of Swiss Anabaptism, 1520-1530," MQR 80 (Oct. 2006), 501-645.
(13.) See below section four of the Justification.
(14.) Stayer, The German Peasants'' War, 68.
(16.) Ibid., 70. Likewise he reasoned, "If one accepts Seebass's argument that the Letter of Articles expanded upon a theme to be found in the "Draft of a Constitution," Hubmaier becomes its likely author. He edited the "Draft of a Constitution," then wrote the Letter of Articles in his own hand. There is internal evidence that the text of the Letter of Articles used by the Black Forest peasants was a revised and abridged version of Hubmaier's original. Even so, it provides an adequate basis for comparison with the writings Hubmaier published in Nikolsburg, and the majority of contemporary scholars indeed find significant textual similarities."-Stayer, "Radikaler Fruhzwinglianismus,"111.
(17.) Stayer, "Radical Early Zwingli.-mism," 108.
(18.) Stayer observes that this notion, although certainly found in Zwingli and Muntzer, is also apparent in Hubmaier's writing, notably On the Sword. See Hubmaier, HS, 455. See Hubmaier, Theologian of Anabaptism, 520-521.
(19.) See Christoph Dittrich, Die vortridentinische katholische Kontroverstheologie and die. Taufer: Cochlaus-Eck-Fabri (New York: Peter Lang, 1991). Dittrich did not acknowledge Stayer's modified position, which he could have read in Stayer's 1988 article. Where he did appear to deal with Seebass's Artikelbrief, he suggested, like Stayer, that "it is a relatively small step to assume that Hubmaier could have been responsible for the expansion of the Bundesordnung, especially if one takes into account the close relationship between the Bundesordnung and the "Letter of Articles."--Dittrich, Die Vortridcntinische Katholische Kontroverstheologie and die Taufer, 418, fn. 82.
(20.) Monge, "Une representation," 36-39.
(21.) Bergsten, Hubmaier: Petite stellung, 282; cf, Bergsten, Hubmaier: Anabaptist Theologian, 214-215.
(22.) See Dittrich, Die Vortridentinische Katholische kontroverstheologie and die Taufer, 414, fn. 27. Monge concurs in "Une representation," 181.
(23.) Monge, "Une representation," 188. She also argues that Fabri attempts to secularize the persecutions, to fake charges from ecclesiastical to civil jurisdiction, which was part of the shift toward the modernization of the Austrian state.-Monge, "Une representation," 187-190.
(24.) Monge herself seems to contradict this judgment where she notes Fabri's unusually astute understanding and ability to differentiate between the various strands of reform, given his knowledge of the Zwinglian.--Monge, "Une representation," 179.
(25.) Fabri's focus on a civil, rather than ecclesiastical, indictment, meant that Anabaptists could be tried through civil courts, rather than through ecclesiastical procedures.--Monge, "Une representation," 187.
(26.) Some historians may still take issue with this accusation and insist, contra Stayer, that the original core and vision of Anabaptism evolved in an orbit that was distinct from that of Hubmaier and the other political rebels, and Fabri's Justification will probably continue to read like the many slanderous writings against the Anabaptists that followed it, especially in the wake of the Munsterite rebellion.
(27.) Stayer, The German Peasants' War, 66, citing Fabri.
(28.) Fabri repeated this evidence in his Znaim sermons. See Johannes Fabri, Sermones Aliquot Salubres Adversus Nefarios et Impios Anabaptistas Habiti (Leipzig: Melchior Lotter d. A., 1528).
(29.) In the margin note Fabri called this list of articles "Balthasari Revocatorum in aliquot articulos."--Defensio Biii(r)-(v).
(30.) In 383 Jerome wrote against Helvidius, who held that Mary and Joseph had other children. Jerome's main argument was for the perpetual virginity of Mary.
(31.) The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 condemned the Nestorian rejection of the term Theotokos, or "God-bearer," and upheld this as an orthodox term in reference to
(32.) Cf. translation in the R.S.V.: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness."
(33.) Meaning both truth and the Word of God.
(34.) Henry Vos and John van don Esschen were Augustinians who were condemned for having Lutheran sympathies. They were burned at the stake in Brussels on July 1,1523 and Luther published a letter in German to Christians in the Netherlands, voicing his support for these martyrs. Sec Luthers Werke, WA 12: 73-80.
(35.) Kaspar Tauber, d. 1524, was one of the first martyrs of the Reformation, who was regarded highly by both Lutherans and Anabaptists. Fabri was involved in his condemnation that took place in Vienna. See ME 4: 684-685.
(36.) Petilianus was the Donatist bishop against whom St. Augustine wrote a refutation concerning re-baptism around the year 400.
(37.) Archduke Ferdinand of the House of Habsburg (1503-1564).
(38.) Fabri writes, "bey gmeiner christenlicher kirchen," - literally "in the common Christian church"--by which he means the Catholic Church.
(39.) Hubmaier and other local clergy preached (ca. Jan. 11, 1518), against usury as "offenses against the common man." - Allyson F. Creasman, "The Virgin Mary Against the Jews: Anti-Jewish Polemic in the Pilgrimage to the Schone Maria of Regensburg, 1519-25," The Sixteenth Century Journal 33 (Winter 2002), 966.
(40.) Note Fabri's use of untodlich (i.e., immortal), which was found in Hubmaier's signature slogan, "the truth is immortal."
(41.) A translation of sub utraque specie, meaning both the bread and the wine. In Catholicism the wine was only consumed by the celebrant, whereas the laity only partook of the bread or host. This was not the case in the Orthodox Churches or in Bohemia.
(42.) See John Rempel, The Lord's Supper in Anabaptism: A Study in the Christology of Balthasar Hubmaier, Pilgrim Marpeck, and Dirk Philips (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1993).
(43.) This is the title of the last prayer of the Rosary, "Hail, Holy Queen."
(44.) Hugo von Hohenlandenberg, Bishop of Constance from 1496-1526, Until 1522 Bishop Hugo approved of reformers like Zwingli and Luther, and had even opposed the sale of indulgences.
(45.) As a point of comparison Luther's salary as a professor was 250 guilders per year.
(46.) Oct. 31-Nov. 5, 1524.
(47.) See Stayer, "Anabaptists and Future Anabaptists," 103-104.
(48.) Monge, "Une representation," 79-80, notes that neuen dingen is a German translation of the Latin term res novae and is best interpreted as "idees nouvelles" and that res novae in Ciceronian Latin would have political implications.
(49.) Contracts pertaining to land rental or leasing.
(50.) This is related to Hubmaier's rejection of usury.
(51.) Shrove Tuesday.
(52.) "verbessert." One could also this term as "improved upon." For example, see Stayer, "Anabaptists and Future Anabaptists," 106. The term "augment" is used here because it is possible that the term here means either "expand" or "improve."
(53.) See Stayer, "Anabaptists and Future Anabaptists," 110.
(54.) The ousted lords who now would seek revenge.
(55.) Hubmaier, Theologian of Anabaptism, 524-562.
(56.) Cf. Apologia, Yoder/Pipkin, 557.
(57.) "aus dem hore." See Stayer, "Anabaptists and Future Anabaptists," 106.
(58.) The Landshut edition states that it was due to his "second baptism." Cf. Monge, "Une representation," 68.
(59.) "peinlich verhort."
(60.) This is also one of Hubmaier's terms for those who only say they are Christians but do not act accordingly.
(61.) "sichmutter = Siechmutter." Laube notes this term designates the head of a Sicclwnhnus or infirmary. Monge, however, translates this as "ces esprits maladies" (i.e., these sick minds).
(62.) This alleged sect of the early Church advocated open sexual relations among members. The group was named after Nicholas, a deacon of the early Church, who gave his wife over to be shared by his fellow disciples alter being accused of loving her too exclusively. In the eleventh century, when clerical celibacy was enforced in the Latin West those who opposed the stricture were labeled Nicolites for their supposed licentiousness - Henry C. Lea, The History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church (London: Watts & Co., 1932), 15-16.
(63.) Cf. Mt. 25:1-13.: the parable in which the five foolish virgins who took their lamps to meet the bridegroom had no oil with them.
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|Author:||Seiling, Jonathan R.|
|Publication:||Mennonite Quarterly Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2010|
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