The Other Martin Luther


“Therefore, let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel.”
 Martin Luther
“Hammer away ding-dong on the anvils of Nimrod, cast down their tower to the ground. Go to it, go to it, while it is day!
Thomas Müntzer

1524-25 officially marks the sundering of two towering Christian philologists and intellectual mates, engaged in a common humanist project till then. Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam would take on the emerging might of Martin Luther of Wittenberg—front and centre, and write a powerful treatise on the question of free will[i]. Erasmus would argue that though man has not received grace that destroys sin, yet he can perform morally good works, which congruously merit grace. In the process, he would relegate the gravity of sin to the back-burner. Luther would write an equally powerful riposte and argue for absolute human bondage to sin and God’s sole prerogative in saving him—demolishing the tradition of pitiful Christian observances and good works. Erasmus’ lengthy reply would follow.Probably apocryphal, but it is said that when Fredrick the Wise had asked Erasmus for a judgment on Luther’s case, he instead received an epigram “What a wonderful little man that is—you never know where you are with him.”After coming to know of this exchange Luther is said to have commented“Erasmus is an eel. Only Christ can grab him.” Evidently, there was no love lost between the two savants.

These theological battles belong to the highways of hermeneutical history of Christianity. But in the duration of those two years—1524-25, Martin Luther was fighting another decisive battle on his left flank. That was as much a deep social and political war as it was a war of ideas—for the soul of Germany, and Europe, by extension. Luther’s secessionist ideas had opened up a can of volatile possibilities in Thuringia and Saxony and there were a host of radical reformers who would pursue reformation to its logical and drastic conclusion in a salient conviction: that only the recreation of the early apostolic Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, could restore true faith throughout Christendom and that nothing less than a radical material, social and spiritual equality ought to be the aim of reformation.

The German Peasants War, taking on the might of all forms of social and interpretive elitism,spread like a wildfire.And Martin Luther, finding himself right in the middle of it, had to respond.

This other Reformation, the one from below, begins around 1522, at first, in the hinterland of Zurich. From there it spreads to the regions of the High and Upper Rhine, Alsace, the Grisons, and finally to Upper Swabia and Tyrol, so that by 1525 the Reformation encompasses an area extending from Fulda to Trent and from Salzburg to Strasbourg[ii]. Roughly a third of the peasants in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation convert to Reformation. These wars (Deutscher Bauernkrieg or the fruhburgerliche Revolution) against the aristocracy follows the preceding Bundschuh movement and the Hussite wars as the peasants and the farmers, supported by the a few radical Protestant clergy, sought wholesale economic and religious equity and freedom from the powers that be. It eventually fizzled out for various reasons, including poor coordination among the insurrectionary bands, lack of concerted strategy and factionalism within the rebel groups, but also owing to a collective and intense opposition, as the power hungry moderate-mainstream clergy joined hands with the aristocracy, who slaughtered up to 100,000 to 150,000 poorly armed peasants and farmers within the brief span of a couple of years.martin-luther-caricature

Luther’s responses to the evolving scenario is a classic study of a magisterial-philological reformer who would first deal cautiously and hobnob with the idea of real democratic possibilities but would soon change tack as he realized how dangerous such a move would be for the establishment of the kind of consensual institutional changes that he was seeking in the Christian dispensation and community structure as a whole in Europe, and for his own survival. Indeed the six tracts that he writes (along with his more informal reactions) are an enduring study of the vicious counter-revolutionary ways by which both theology and pragma have often been deployed to undermine and help destroy the radical potentials within reformation theology, language and social practice.

 The Black Forest Rises

The sectaries, chiefly Andrew Karlstadt and Thomas Müntzer, right from the beginning,set the spirit in opposition to the letter of Scripture[iii]. They rejected wholly and completely all sacraments, including infant baptism and the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar. The radical reformers simultaneously sought a real and political manifestation of primitive Christianity and tried to achieve lay ministry and social levelling. Karlstadt, for instance, asked all parishioners to call him Brother Andreas or ‘good neighbour’ and not Herr Doktor or Herr Pfarrer. He lived a most unassuming life, declined to be supported by the congregation and instead undertook to earn his living at the plow. Thomas Müntzer, the most radical of the reformers,declared that Scripture as mere written record is but: “Bible, Babel, bubble,” and cited from Corinthians “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (Cor. 3:6). And hecontinued, calling Luther, who was by then a rabid reactionary, Easychair—“The man who has not received theliving witness of God knows really nothing about God, though he may have swallowed 100,000 Bibles. God comes in dreams to his beloved as he did to his patriarchs, prophets and apostles. He comes especially in affliction. That is why Brother Easychair rejects him.”Effectively Müntzer elevated revelation in the present tense and proceeded to record the gift of the Spirit as a basis for the formation of a Church[iv].

But this anticlericalism in the radical reformers that eventually led to the Peasant’s War was also an outcome of deep economic and social discontents among the farmers, townsmen and miners[v]. Until the middle of the fifteenth century certain monasteries had accumulated lands, jurisdictions and possessions, first by endowments and then by a systematic policy of purchases. That was one of the leading reasons why personal salvation and cleansing of the ecclesiastical order transmuted into rallying cries for a genuine revolt.There has been a nascent element of class conflict and also a political sense of struggle between the rulers and the people. Another way to interpret the conflict is to read it as the outcome of a crisis within feudal relationships. The Twelve Articles of the peasants of Upper Swabia (April, 1525), the most significant document that records the demands of the peasants, not only asked for the election by parishes of their own priests who were to preach the true Gospel but emphatically demanded the proper use of tithes to maintain the priests and the poor of the parish (there also used to be such forms of levies like the Crusade Tax and Consecration tax). As a reaction, refusal to render tithes became widespread during I523 and 1524, the very years when peasant indebtedness mounted because of stringent collection of rents and taxes at a time of bad harvests. Usury and serfdom was severely attacked too by the suffering peasants and miners. The consequent tithe strikes set a precedent for the later refusal of rents and dues which accompanied open rebellion. In fact, quite ironically, several pamphleteers and preachers expanded on a theme in sermons by Luther of 1522 that money should not be given to the church for the worship of dead saints, but rather to the living saints: the poor. Besides, the usage of land, along with population pressure and inflation, were other major factors of the rebellion. Successive years of bad harvests added to the peasant indebtedness. The active land market of the fifteenth century concentrated land in the hands of large monastic and magnate landlords. So, one of the demands the peasants made was the “free usufruct of forest, water, pasture, and rights of chase,” along with the free and unadulterated preaching of the gospel. The courts, or sheer arbitrary force, were used to tie serfs to the land. All these led to the question of peasant self government, as developing political consciousness among the peasants and miners got increasingly tied to theological issues of spiritual equity and temporal probity.

One Must Kill a Mad Dog

Tom Scott’s reminder that “The ‘legend’ of Müntzer constructed by the Wittenberg orthodoxy of Luther, Melanchthon and Johann Agricola seized deliberately upon the image of the fanatical insurrectionary in the Peasants’ War, and belittled or ignored his theological erudition, his intellectual creativity, and, above all, his earnest and engaged humanity,” makes us think not only about the profound depth and scope of this particular insurrection—materially and spiritually, but also how historiography works in strange ways in shifting the fulcrum and fortunes of certain political junctures, thereby erecting or unseating those players who shape such junctures, depending on the reigning trends in scholarship and political circumstance.

Martin Luther penned as many as six responses to the Peasants War[vi]. The first, Admonition to Peace (c. April 15, 1525), actually tried a kind of reconciliation between the peasants and the princes (and the ‘blind bishops’). The latter, he said, did not administer their realms with fairness.Luther admits that many of the twelve Articles are just and equitable and that they can be supported by “natural law” or “human and natural rights,” but he simultaneously also feels that they are not supported by the gospel: “Your declaration that you teach and live according to the gospel is not true. To sum it up, everything is concerned with worldly and temporal matters. You want power and wealth so that you will not suffer injustice. The gospel, however, does not become involved in the affairs of this world. .. .” He is particularly critical of the Third Article whichcalls for the abolition of serfdom: “You assert that no one is to be the serf of anyone else, because Christ has made us all free. That is making Christian freedom a completely physical matter. . . . This article would make all men equal, and turn the spiritual kingdom of Christ into a worldly, external kingdom; and that is impossible.” Luther concludes his Admonition with a call to both sides to seek arbitration.Following this tract, he quickly republishes the Weingarten Treaty in order to further his hopes for reconciliation. The Weingarten Treaty was signed on April 17 between the Swabian League and a peasant association. Luther thought the Treaty provided a model of reconciliation and so he republished it with a preface and a postscript. So far, it seemed that the conflict could be resolved in some manner.peasant-war-2

But in the first week of May came the most blistering attack by Luther on the movement in a pamphlet titled Against the Murderous and Thieving Hordes of Peasants. Luther is now convinced that the “destruction of the world is to be expected every hour.” He no longer “sincerely advises” as he did in the earlier work. Rather he passionately and harshly condemns the peasants and lays bare a full frontal attack on the peasants and their leaders:  “They practice mere devil’s work, and it is the arch-devil himself who reigns at Mühlhausen (a reference to Müntzer), indulging in nothing but robbery, murder, and bloodshed; as Christ says of the devil in John viii. 44, “he was a murderer from the beginning.” Since, therefore, those peasants and miserable wretches allow themselves to be led astray and act differently from what they declared, I likewise must write differently concerning them; and first bring their sins before their eyes, as God commands (Isa. 1viii. 1; Ezek. ii. 7), whether perchance some of them may come to their senses; and, further, I would instruct those in authority how to conduct themselves in this matter.” Luther charged the peasants with three specific crimes and the nature of those arraignments are worth looking into closely: first, they had violated their oaths of loyalty to their rulers [“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,” (Rom. xiii. 1), “and Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”] and therefore were subject to temporal power. Second, since they had robbed, plundered and murdered, they must be slaughtered and murdered like mad dogs. Finally, they are blasphemers and violators of God’s name since they had committed the crimes under cover of Christ’s name.

This somersault and visceral reaction of Luther is actually not new in Christian political philosophy[vii]. The chiliasts of the early Christian period found their greatest adversary in St. Augustine at the height of the firstcrisis.Luther’s writings resemble Augustine’s in style as well as substance. In The Freedom of a Christian Luther says:

“It is clear, then, that a Christian has all that he needs in faith and needs no works to justify him; and if he has no need of works, he has no need of law; and if he has no need of the law, surely he is free from the law. It is true that “the law is not laid down for the just” (1 Tim. 1:9). This is that Christian liberty, our faith, which does not induce us to live in idleness or wickedness but makes the law and works unnecessary for any man’s righteousness and salvation.” So, unlike the radical reformers, Luther believes that Christian liberty is not a private or communal state of mystic-material perfection attained here on earth by faith—since humans cannot have that much agency. Luther posits that we are not “wholly inner and perfectly spiritual men.” The inner persona must exist with the outer man just as faith exists with good work. In his 1523 work on Temporal Authority, he first argues that there is Biblical authority for the divine origin of government independent of the church. Then, in the second part of the tract, he explains the limitations on temporal power and concludes with some suggestions to the rulers. The anchor and backbone in Luther’s political thought, as in Augustine’s, is the fundamental distinction between the two kingdoms: “Here we must divide the children of Adam and all mankind into two classes, the first belonging to the kingdom of God, the second to the kingdom of the world. Those who belong to the kingdom of God are all the true believers…”.He had always reserved a dark and pessimistic idea for the hoi polloi. The masses are all sinners, and only temporal authority (law, not gospel) can provide an outward peace in earthly matters: “In the same way a savage wild beast is bound with chains and ropes so that it cannot bite and tear as it would normally do, even though it would like to…”

This temporal doctrine is used by Luther to delineate the responsibilities, commitments and limits to the political and ecclesiastical governments upon earth. There is a running dialectic in his thought. He constantly relies upon paired categories: ‘kingdom of God and kingdom of the world, theology and philosophy, gospel and law, faith and good works, the Word and the Sword, the inner and the outer man, freedom and bondage, and so forth’. By a dialectical mode of reasoning Luther continually tries to present his thought so that the words and symbols will not be frozen and the experiential roots remain open to temporal laws. Here lies one of the roots of his attacks on the radical reformers. The radicals broke this dialectical mode in favour of an absolute purity in thought and action by literalizing each of the Christian signs.Truth would shine forth in the radicals in and through every material object. There was no question of any temporal mediation.

So, Luther followed his earlier diatribes by editing and commenting on some of the letters of the imprisoned Müntzer, A Dreadful Story and a Judgment of God Concerning Thomas Müntzer[viii]. Finally, he wrote in July, after repeated pleadings from his friends, another major essay, An Open Letter on the Harsh Book against the Peasants. First, he once again seeks support in Scriptures for the harsh advice. The peasants were rebels and mercy was not appropriate: “The Scripture passages which speak of mercy apply to the kingdom of God and to Christians, not the kingdom of the world. ….” He is belligerent and no apology is forthcoming for his betrayal of the peasants cause. Second, the “Harsh Book: was based upon the doctrine of the two kingdoms: one is of “grace and mercy” and the other is of “wrath and punishment” just as he had prescribed for the warring peasants. It was here, by trying to bridge the two kingdoms, Luther insists, that the peasants committed their worst transgression: “Now he who would confuse these two kingdoms-as our false fanatics do-would put wrath into God’s kingdom and mercy into the world’s kingdom; and that is the same as putting the devil in heaven and God in hell.” Third, Luther argues that all Christians are obligated and duty bound to preserve order when it is threatened, as in the rebellion. Indeed, he says, “I am called a clergyman and am a minister of the word, but even if I served a Turk and saw my lord in danger, I would forget my spiritual office and stab and hew as long as my heart beat.” So, mercy was not required in this “business of the devil.”

These major tracts on the Peasants’ War show that Luther’s concern is almost wholly theological and not political.Or in other words, he was highlighting theology in a manner to work out a different political strategy that would help him demarcate the limits of radical social and spiritual transformation. Luther’s mode of thinking predisposed him to frame the questions so that there could be scriptural and textual answers. Text was being used to keep the social at bay. Indeed philological injunctions they were. He condemned the revolt because it involved the establishing of the kingdom of God on earth and thus the negation of the distinction between the two kingdoms, and also because he felt that it entailed the use of power to compel the conscience or the inner man in order to attain spiritual perfection. First, man’s nature is such that he cannot achieve perfection even if he should be a true Christian. Second, the goal of spiritual perfection does not belong to the political realm. To achieve such perfection requires grace and love rather than the temporal power of the kingdoms of this world. What he missed was that the radical zeal and the idea of grace were far more egalitarian and positive than the chameleon like middle path that he would trudge.

Language, Persons and Belief

Another significant matter that would sharply divide the magisterial from radical reform was the divergent use of language[ix]. Luther, unlike Karlstadt or Müntzer, did not write a phenomenology of mind or essays on epistemology and his views of language are always embedded in, and sometimes obscured by, the substantive, practical points that he made. The radicals use language in the most literal fashion, that is, as if the meaning were contained in the object. In Luther’s eyes this literal usage is a symptom of their heresy. As an instance, Luther ridicules the radicals for thinking that the destruction of idols eliminates idolatry, forgetting that it is not the idols but the active worshipping of idols that is crucial. They identify, Luther complains, the “real meaning” with words and material objects: “Just as if they thereby were rid of created things in the heart, in that they madly destroy images.” The radicals actually have an object theory of meaning: language is spiritual or fleshly depending upon the referent. So, he says:

“All that our body does outwardly and physically, if God’s Word is added to it and it is done through faith, is in reality and in name done spiritually. Nothing can be so material, fleshly, or outward, but it becomes spiritual when it is done in the Word and in faith. “Spiritual” is nothing else than what is done in us and by us through the Spirit and faith, whether the object with which we are dealing is physical or spiritual. Thus, Spirit consists in the use, not in the object, be it seeing, hearing, speaking, touching, begetting, bearing, eating, drinking, or anything else.”

A second linguistic flaw, he feels, is the radicals’ attempt to use language so that certainty is provided merely through the proper set of words: “They make faith depend upon the letter.”Just as they want to escape thereby the tension of human existence, they create a language which will provide certainty for them. Again, their use of language is a symptom of their heresy. They want to “encircle God,” he writes, and it is this desire which becomes the experiential source of their radical spiritualism: “They would like to grope and feel for something in order to escape having to believe.” Their stress on “inwardness” or mysticism is designed, Luther argues, to make God’s presence contingent upon man’s spiritual control. Luther’s strong individuals are isolated, selfish, and perennially in social conflict; limited in power, conceiving and treating their fellow human beings instrumentally whenever any unitedaction is required. Within the context of the religious realm, the appropriate uses of language are fundamentally different from those of the political realm. In place of the limited goals of politics, the “language” of religion directs one to the highest conceivable goal a human can have and as such the commitment expected is unqualified and total. This eliding of the political to the textual-interpretative zone is one of the most astute moves in mainstream reformation.peasant-war-1

Martin Luther wholly, completely and deliberately altered the spirit of the theological arguments of the peasant leaders but more importantly, totally refused to see any merit in the economic arguments embedded therein since he realized that his own social position was becoming more and more precarious with the radical onslaught. But even theologically speaking Luther’s views are clearly cautious, pragmatic and finally spiteful vis a vis the ones advanced by the radical reformers. At the heart of radical sectarianism are the great principles of freedom of conscience, separation of church and state and voluntarism in religion[x].For nearly five centuries, following a pattern established in the sixteenth century by Philip Melanchthon and Heinrich Bullinger, and continuing through the Lutheran renaissance of the twentieth century, standard readings of the Reformation dismissed the Anabaptists and other radical sects as seditious and fractious revolutionaries or schwarmer. They were, as if, a deformation of the reformation. The bracketing off of radical spirit and action usually happens in two ways. Either one notices a narrow definition of the later radicals as nonviolent and sober biblical literalists, earnestly seeking a thoroughgoing restoration of the apostolic church. This mode short-circuits the social and economic programmes of the sectarians. Nonresistance and discipleship is highlighted instead. The other extreme is to brand them as violent anarchists and thereby dismiss their profound erudition, intellectual creativity and egalitarian religious sensibility.

In the face of such adversity and persecution the likes of Thomas Müntzer gradually saw the ranks of the pitiless swell as the members of the egalitarian and true elect diminished. And so the radicals, before they were captured and executed, came to associate only the materially oppressed with the poor in spirit, as those uniquely capable of achieving true faith. Despite the caricature of his opponents, Müntzer’s immediate legacy was quite sturdy.His liturgies were adopted by the congregations of Erfurt and Wolfenbüttel in 1525, despite Luther’s attempts to halt their printing. In Allstedt itself, the Saxon ecclesiastical visitors found to their vexation much of Müntzer’s order of service still in use in 1533. Several of his hymns continued to be sung, albeit put down to an ‘anonymous’ composer. The most striking fact about Müntzer’s revolutionary theology, however, was that it did not die with him, despite the debacle at Frankenhausen where hundreds of thousands of peasants and radical clergy were slaughtered eventually by trickery.

George Williams introduced the term “radical reformation” in 1962 with the intention of broadening the field of study beyond the so-called evangelicalreformers[xi]. But recent historiography, in the name ofintegrating radicalism more organically within the broader Reformation movement elides the sharp differences and overlooks the attenuation of antagonistic theological and political stakes. Another approach characterizes these moments as congeries of loosely connected, theologically fragmented, geographically disparate groups with little in common outside of a possible commitment to certain sacramental differences.But even for the greatest of revisionists with an ardent zeal to de-radicalize these years of bitter antagonism, after a point it is really impossible to overlook the actual implications as differences in abstraction. The maiming and the butchering of millions of apocalyptic visionaries over the centuries are historical and material facts. The unkindest of cuts were inflicted not by the princes and bishops but by people whom the radicals had once trusted as their own.


[i] See E. Gordon Rupp and Philip Watson, Luther and Erasmus: Free Will and Salvation. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 1969.

[ii] See Peter Blickle, The Revolution of 1525: The German Peasant’s war from a New Perspective. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985 and Thomas A. Brady, German Histories in the Age of Reformations, 1400-1650. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2009. See also Yves-Marie Bercé, Revolt and Revolution in early modern Europe: an essay on the history of political violence. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987 and Janos Bok. The German Peasant War of 1525, ‘The Library of Peasant Studies’: No. 3, 1976.

[iii]See Friedrich Engels, The Peasant War in Germany, Intl Pub; 3rd edition, 2000. See also Abraham Friesen, Reformation and Utopia: The Marxist Interpretation of the Reformation and Its Antecedents, Wiesbaden, 1974. For a description of the various Marxist interpretations since Engels see the excellent article by Werner 0. Packull, “Thomas Müntzer Between Marxist-Christian Diatribe and Dialogue,” Historical Reflections (Summer, 1977), 67-89.Hans-Jürgen Goertz, ‘The Mystic with the Hammer. Thomas Müntzer’s Theological Basis for Revolution’, ‘Mennonite Quarterly Review’, L (1976) is a masterly essay which reconciles Müntzer’s theology and revolutionary involvement. See also G. H. Williams, The Radical Reformation, Philadelphia, 1962. Horst Bartei, Gerhard Brendler et al. (eds.), Martin Luther: Leistung und Erbe, Berlin, 1986 advances an important critique of the Marxist concept of the ‘people’s Reformation’, which argues that, in these terms, Müntzer’s programme was unique neither to him nor to central Germany.

[iv] For Müntzer, see Steven E. Ozment, Mysticism and Dissent. Religious Ideology and Social Protest in the Sixteenth Century (New Haven/London, 1973), Tom Scott, Thomas Müntzer: Theology and Revolution in the German Reformation, London: Macmillan, 1989 and Werner O. Packull, Mysticism and the Early South-German Austrian Anabaptist Movement (Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, XIX), Scottdale, Pa./Kitchener, Ont., 1977. See also James M. Stayer, Anabaptists and the Sword, Lawrence, Kansas, 1976, which offers useful comments on Müntzer’s view of worldly authority. Wide-ranging extracts of important articles in abbreviated translation are contained in Werner O. Packull (ed.), The Anabaptists and Thomas Müntzer, Dubuque, Iowa, 1980.

[v] See Perez Zagorin, Rebels and Rulers, 1500–1660. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press,1984 and Henry J. Cohn, Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525, Past & Present, No. 83 (May, 1979), pp. 3-31.

[vi]See, Ronald H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1950, Martin Marty, Martin Luther. Viking Penguin, 2004 and Ewald M. Plass, What Luther Says, 3 vols., St. Louis: CPH, 1959. See also Donald K. McKim, (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Luther, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. For contemporary evaluations of Luther and his times, see Scott H. Hendrix, Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015, Heiko Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006 and Derek Wilson, Out of the Storm: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther. London: Hutchinson, 2007.

[vii] See J. M. Porter, Luther and Political Millenarianism: The Case of the Peasants’ War, ‘Journal of the History of Ideas’ , Vol. 42, No. 3 (Jul. – Sep., 1981), pp. 389-406 and Kyle C. Sessions, The War over Luther and the Peasants: Old Campaigns and New Strategies,‘The Sixteenth Century Journal’ , Vol. 3, No. 2 (Oct., 1972), pp. 25-44.

[viii]To trace a comparative-intellectual cartography of Luther and Müntzer, see Gordon Rupp, ”’True History”: Martin Luther and Thomas Müntzer’ in Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best (eds.), History, Society and the Churches. Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick, Cambridge, 1985. Also Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther and the False Brethren, Stanford, Palo Alto, 1975. The classic account, which stresses the differences rather than the similarities between the two reformers, is by Carl Hinrichs, Luther und Müntzer. Ihre Auseinandersetzung über Obrigkeit und Widerstandsrecht, 2nd edn., Berlin, 1962. See also Erie W. Gritseh, ‘Thomas Müntzer and Luther: A Tragedy of Errors’, in Hans J. Hillerbrand (ed.), Radical Tendencies in the Reformation: Divergent Perspectives, Kirksville, Mo., 1988.

[ix]For contemporary analyses of the fiduciary component in language, see: Dallas High, Language, Persons and Belief, New York, 1967. See also, Reformation of Feelings: Shaping the Religious Emotions in Early Modern Germany, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

[x] See John D. Roth, Recent Currents in the Historiography of the Radical Reformation, ‘Church History’, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Sep., 2002), pp. 523-535.


[xi]George H. Williams, The Radical Reformation, Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962. A revised edition of Williams work has since appeared in Spanish, and a third edition with still more revisions is now available in English as The Radical Reformation, 3d ed., Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 2000.


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Prasanta Chakravarty teaches English in Delhi University and edits Humanities Underground

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