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Thread: Münster rebellion

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    Default Münster rebellion

    The Münster rebellion was an attempt by radical Anabaptists to establish a communal sectarian government in the German city of Münster. The city was under Anabaptist rule from February 1534, when the city hall was seized and Bernhard Knipperdolling installed as mayor, until its fall in June 1535. It was Melchior Hoffman, who initiated adult baptism in Strasbourg in 1530, and his line of eschatological Anabaptism, that helped lay the foundations for the events of 1534–1535 in Münster.
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    Rebellion[edit]


    Historical drawing of the execution of the leaders of the rebellion. In the background the cages are already in place at the old steeple of St. Lambert's church.

    After the German Peasants' War (1524–25), a forceful attempt to establish theocracy was made at Münster, in Westphalia (1532–1535). Here the group had gained considerable influence, through the adhesion of Bernhard Rothmann, the Lutheran pastor, and several prominent citizens; and the leaders, Jan Matthys (also spelled Matthijs, Mathijsz, Matthyssen, Mathyszoon), a baker from Haarlem, and Jan Bockelson (or Beukelszoon), a tailor from Leiden. Bernhard Rothmann was a tireless and vitriolic opponent of Catholicism and a writer of pamphlets that were published by his ally and wealthy wool merchant Bernhard Knipperdolling. The pamphlets at first denounced Catholicism from a radical Lutheran perspective, but soon started to proclaim that the Bible called for the absolute equality of man in all matters including the distribution of wealth. The pamphlets, which were distributed throughout northern Germany, successfully called upon the poor of the region to join the citizens of Münster to share the wealth of the town and benefit spiritually from being the elect of Heaven.
    With so many adherents in the town, at the elections for the magistracy, Rothmann and his allies had little difficulty in obtaining possession of the town, and placing Bernhard Knipperdolling as the mayor after deposing the mainly Lutheran magistrates, who, until then, had seen him as an ally in their own distrust of, and dislike for, Catholics. Matthys was a follower of Melchior Hoffman, who, after Hoffman's imprisonment at Strasbourg, obtained a considerable following in the Low Countries, including Bockelson, who became known as John of Leiden. John of Leiden and Gerrit Boekbinder[1] had visited Münster, and returned with a report that Bernhard Rothmann was there teaching doctrines similar to their own. Matthys identified Münster as the "New Jerusalem", and on January 5, 1534, a number of his disciples entered the city and introduced adult baptism. Rothmann apparently accepted "rebaptism" that day, and well over 1000 adults were soon baptised. Vigorous preparations were made, not only to hold what had been gained, but to spread their beliefs to other areas. The many Lutherans who left were outnumbered by the arriving Anabaptists, there was an orgy of iconoclasm in cathedrals and monasteries, and rebaptism became compulsory. The property of the emigrants was shared out with the poor and soon a proclamation was issued that all property was to be held in common.[2]
    Siege[edit]

    The city was then besieged by Franz von Waldeck, its expelled bishop. In April 1534 on Easter Sunday, Matthys, who had prophesied God's judgment to come on the wicked on that day, made a sally with only thirty followers, believing that he was a second Gideon, and was cut off with his entire band. He was killed, his head severed and placed on a pole for all in the city to see, and his genitals nailed to the city gate.
    The 25-year old John of Leiden was subsequently recognized as Matthys' religious and political successor, justifying his authority and actions by the receipt of visions from heaven. His authority grew, eventually proclaiming himself to be the successor of David and adopting royal regalia, honors and absolute power in the new "Zion". There were at least three times as many women of marriageable age as men now in the town and he legalized polygamy and himself took sixteen wives. (John is said to have beheaded one woman in the marketplace for refusing to marry him; this act might have been falsely attributed to him after his death.) Meanwhile, most of the residents of Münster were starving as a result of the year-long siege.
    After lengthy resistance, the city was taken by the besiegers on June 24, 1535 and John of Leiden and several other prominent Anabaptist leaders were captured and imprisoned. In January 1536 John of Leiden, Bernhard Knipperdolling and one more prominent follower, Bernhard Krechting, were tortured and executed in the marketplace of Münster. Their bodies were exhibited in cages, which hung from the steeple of St. Lambert's Church. The bones were removed later, but the cages hang there still.
    Aftermath[edit]

    The Münster Rebellion was a turning point for the Anabaptist movement. It never again had the opportunity of assuming political importance, as both Catholic and Lutheran civil powers adopted stringent measures to counter this. It is difficult to trace the subsequent history of the group as a religious body, through changes in the names used and beliefs held.
    The Batenburgers under Jan van Batenburg preserved the violent millennialist stream of Anabaptism seen at Münster. They were polygamous and believed force was justified against anyone not in their sect. Their movement went underground after the suppression of the Münster Rebellion, with members posing as Catholics or Lutherans as necessary. Some nonresistant Anabaptists found leaders in Menno Simons and the brothers Obbe and Dirk Philips, Dutch Anabaptist leaders who repudiated the distinctive doctrines of the Münster Anabaptists. This group eventually became known as the Mennonites after Simons. They rejected any use of violence and preached a faith based on love of enemy and compassion.
    In August 1536 the leaders of Anabaptist groups influenced by Melchior Hoffman met in Bocholt in an attempt to maintain unity. The meeting included followers of Batenburg, survivors of Münster, David Joris and his sympathisers, and the nonresistant Anabaptists.[3] At this meeting the major areas of dispute between the sects were polygamous marriage and the use of force against non-believers. Joris proposed compromise by declaring the time had not yet come to fight against the authorities, and that it would be unwise to kill any non-Anabaptists. The gathered Anabaptists agreed to the compromise of no more force,[4] but the meeting did not prevent the fragmentation of Anabaptism.



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    We discussed the Münster rebellion so much everybody is probably sick and tired of hearing about it.
    1. Don't lie.
    2. Don't cheat.
    3. Don't steal.
    4. Don't kill.
    5. Don't commit adultery.
    6. Don't covet what your neighbor has, especially his wife.
    7. Honor your father and mother.
    8. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
    9. Don’t use your Higher Power's name in vain, or anyone else's.
    10. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

    "For the love of money is the root of all evil..." -- I Timothy 6:10, KJV

  4. #3

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    I always liked the Munster's!



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  5. #4

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    Rothbard on this and related topics, Messianic Communism in the Protestant Reformation
    "The program of liberalism, ...if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property..."

    -Ludwig von Mises

    "Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a "diversitarian"; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right."

    -Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    "All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

    -H. L. Mencken






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