Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

The Repression and Survival of Anabaptism in the Emmental, Switzerland, 1659-1743

Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

The Repression and Survival of Anabaptism in the Emmental, Switzerland, 1659-1743

Article excerpt

While the early period of Swiss Anabaptism from 1520 to 1540 has been heavily plowed by historians, the following two hundred years of development remain largely unexplored. This dissertation examines the period from 1659 to 1743 during which the canton of Berne organized an administration dedicated to hunting down Anabaptists. Sources emanating from the clergy which refer to Anabaptism are rare. Those produced by the town's administration are not plentiful either, but council minutes, financial accounts, and the later minutes of the Anabaptist chamber (dating from 1721 to 1743), together with the sources of the local communes, afford a strong impression of the problems of enforcing policy, and give a sense of who the Anabaptists were and how they comported themselves.

After establishing the social, geographic and political factors that facilitated Anabaptist survival, the thesis examines the religious dissenters from the perspective of the authorities, and then from the viewpoint of the clergy. The focus narrows to the village authorities, the villagers who conformed to the state religion, and the Anabaptists themselves. Finally, Anabaptist survival is analyzed in the light of deviance theory and modern research on moral panics. …

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