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Anti-Anabaptist Polemics

Dutch Anabaptism and the Devil in England, 1531-1660
  • By Gary K. Waite
Product Description
Anti-Anabaptist Polemics examines polemical works printed between 1531 (when the first known treatise on Anabaptism was printed in England) and 1660 (when the Restoration brought back royal control over religion after the Interregnum) to gauge how continental Anabaptism was understood, polemically distorted, and utilized as a weapon in the debates over religious diversity in England. In the process, Gary Waite argues that some of the weaponized elements of Dutch and German Anabaptism that were hurled about in thousands of hate-filled pamphlets and treatises over the century not only fed into fears of the devil and witchcraft, but inadvertently offered the discontented a number of innovative ideas to draw from, helping in fact to inspire the surge in new religious movements of the 1640s, even though the intention of the authors was to suppress, not encourage, dissent. Anti-Anabaptist Polemics fills significant gaps in our understanding of the development and impact of polemical publications against Anabaptism in England leading up to the Restoration.

Praise for Anti-Anabaptist Polemics

The Anabaptists demolished the conventions of early modern Europe - in theology, in politics and in socio-economic affairs. Although few and foreign in England, their reputation for breaking with traditional ways provoked outspoken denunciation there. Gary Waite has analysed the English writers who wrote against Dutch and German Anabaptism between 1531 and 1660, bringing out their habitual concentration on the horrors of the violence, communism, and polygamy of the outbreak at Münster in 1533-35. The English polemicists were eager to blacken the image of Separatists at home by drawing spurious parallels. The effect was to arouse anxiety among adherents of the established Church of England but also, paradoxically, to give ideas to some of those who created new religious movements in the 1640s. Because this study is so revealing about the nature and consequences of hate literature inspired by religion, it holds dismaying relevance for the twenty-first century.
- Dr. David Bebbington, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Stirling

Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, this engaging and timely book opens up a fascinating and neglected subject in ways that will interest anyone who looks at religion in early modern England. Essential for those working on English Baptist history, it also offers rich new insights for researchers interested in the intersections of religion, politics, polemic, and the supernatural in the early modern world.
- Dr. Andrew Crome, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, Manchester Metropolitan University

This compellingly written book surveys anti-Anabaptist polemics in England from the Reformation to the Restoration. Waite deftly analyzes a wide range of printed texts to reveal the English attitude toward and caricature of "radical" reform movements in continental Europe. Yet this book is about much more than the use of Anabaptism as a rhetorical cudgel carved for various purposes over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Instead, what Waite offers is a new window into the power- and unintended consequences-of fear, paranoia, and print in an age of demonization as much as reformation. Anti-Anabaptist Polemics is essential reading for scholars interested in the early modern polemics of hate and how they speak to our own moment of polarization and extremism.
- Dr. Michelle D. Brock, Associate Professor of History, Washington and Lee University

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    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781926599991
    • Manufacturer: Herald Pr
    • ISBN 13: 9781926599991
    • Publication Date: 05/14/2023
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Gary K. Waite
    • Width: 1.00 inches
    • Height: 1.00 inches
    • Length: 1.00 inches
    • Weight: 0.06 pounds

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