Cover image for The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed. By George Huntston Williams

The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed.

George Huntston Williams


$96.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-943549-83-5

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1516 pages
6" × 9"
Originally published by Truman State University Press

Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies

The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed.

George Huntston Williams

“No other book can match Willliams’ authoritative volume. For presenting the kaleidoscope of sixteenth-century breakaway individuals and groups, nothing comparable exists now nor will be seen for many decades to come.… The author’s use of the primary and secondary sources is unequaled, his mastery of both classical and contemporary languages unexcelled, and the spread of proofs beyond challenge.”


  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Table of Contents
George Williams' monumental The Radical Reformation has been an essential reference work for historians of early modern Europe, narrating in rich, interpretative detail the interconnected stories of radical groups operating at the margins of the mainline Reformation. In its scope—spanning all of Europe from Spain to Poland, from Denmark to Italy—and its erudition, The Radical Reformation is without peer. Now in paperback format, Williams' magnum opus should be considered for any university-level course on the Reformation.
“No other book can match Willliams’ authoritative volume. For presenting the kaleidoscope of sixteenth-century breakaway individuals and groups, nothing comparable exists now nor will be seen for many decades to come.… The author’s use of the primary and secondary sources is unequaled, his mastery of both classical and contemporary languages unexcelled, and the spread of proofs beyond challenge.”
“This opus magnum is an expensive, but indispensable tool for Reformation historians, indeed for all church historians.… Williams once again offers an encyclopedic view of the radical Reformation rather than a definitive comprehensive history.… Illustrations and extensive indices make this massive work the kind of tool which Reformation historians will cherish.”
“Access to this enriched vein of information has also been improved by the addition of the remarkable 200-page apparatus which concludes the volume, consisting of a bibliography and separate indexes of source documents; confessions, catechisms and articles of faith; colloquies, councils and synods; scriptural references; and subjects.”
“It is given that this edition of The Radical Reformation will stand as an unparalleled monument in Reformation research. A synoptic project of this scope and erudition will probably never be undertaken again, and, as such, access to this new edition is simply a must for scholars of the Radical Reformation.… This book makes a real contribution to scholarship by bringing clear attention to the non-Germanic aspects of the Radical Reformation. This makes it valuable for survey research as well as specialized study. Its extensively expanded indexes assure that it will for years to come be the starting point for thesis research. All who pay attention to the history of the sixteenth century will be grateful to Williams for this crowning labor of love.”
“This work, with its vast wealth of detail beyond the great confessional streams, is important not only for Reformation studies. It has been a crucial contribution to the reappraisal of the hermeneutics of the sixteenth century, religious historiography and the contemporary reassessment of the middle ages and renaissance.”




Introduction to First Edition

Introduction to Second Edition

Introduction to Third Edition

1. Reformed Catholicity: An Evangelical Interlude

1. The European Setting from an Hispanic Perspective

2. Religious Currents in Spain as of the Beginning of the Reign of Charles I (V)

a. Charles I of Castile and Aragon

b. The Legacy of the “Reyes Católicos,” Grandparents of Charles

c. Marranos and Alumbrados: The Spanish Inquisition

3. Erasmus of Rotterdam, Oxford, Cambridge, Basel, Freiburg: Patron of Evangelicals in Spain and Radicals Everywhere, Though by Him Disowned

a. Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536)

b. Erasmianism in Spain

4. The Brothers Valdés

5. Michael Servetus to 1530

6. Stirrings of Reform and Dissent in Italy before Valdesianism

a. The Abortive Fifth Lateran Council, 1512–1517

b. Apocalypticism, Evangelism, and the New Religious Orders

c. Italian Philosophical Speculation on Immortality and the Doctrine of the Trinity

2. Mysticism and Sacramentism along the Rhine to 1530

1. The Sacramental Action, as Popularly Understood

2. Medieval Germanic Mysticism: A Component in Some Forms of Anabaptism and Spiritualism

a. Deutero-Taulerian Mysticism in the Reformation Era

b. Theologia Deutsch and the Deutero-Taulerian Corpus as a Late Medieval Synthesis of Earlier Forms of Mysticism

c. Some Mystical Motifs Later Cropping Up in the Radical Reformation

3. Losses in the Sense of Divine Mediacy in the Seven Sacraments

4. Netherlandish Sacramentarians and Conventicular Sacramentists

5. Cornelius Hoen and Hinne Rode: Netherlandish Sacramentists to 1530

3. Lutheran Spiritualists: Carlstadt and Müntzer

1. Carlstadt and the First “Protestant” Communion

2. Thomas Müntzer and the Zwickau Prophets

4. The Great Peasants’ War, 1524–1525

1. Medieval Peasant Aspirations to 1517/20

a. In the Swiss Confederation

b. In Southwest Germany

2. The Coalescence of the Peasants’ Reform Movement (Gemeindereformation) with Aspirations Engendered by Luther and Zwingli (1517/20–1524/25)

3. The Great Peasants’ War, 1524–1525: Hubmaier, Carlstadt, Sattler, Müntzer, Rinck, and Hut

a. The Uprising in Stülingen and Waldshut: The Role of Balthasar Hubmaier and the First Appearance of Michael Sattler

b. The Franconian Theater of the War: Carlstadt at Rothenberg

c. Thuringia and Müntzer

d. Three Minor Participants in the Thuringian-Franconian Phase of the War

e. The Tyrol 1525/26: Michael Gaismair

4. Conclusion

5. The Eucharistic Controversy Divides the Reformation, 1523–1526

1. Hinne Rode in Basel and Zurich with Oecolampadius and Zwingli

2. The Eucharistic Controversy in Zurich: The Second Disputation, October 1523: An Embryonic Anabaptist Conventicle, 1523–1524

a. The Second Zurich Disputation, October 1523

b. Four Radicals at the Disputation: Haetzer, Stumpf, Mantz, and Grebel

c. The Disputation Continued

d. Conventicular Sacramentists in Zurich, 1524

3. The Eucharistic Controversy between the Swiss Sacramentarians and the Lutherans

4. Psychopannychism in Wittenberg and Zurich

5. Caspar Schwenckfeld of Silesia and the Suspension of the Supper in 1526

a. Schwenckfeld and the Reformation in Lower Silesia until 1526

b. Schwenckfeld and Aspects of the Silesian Reformation until 1529, 209

6. Rise of the Swiss Brethren as the First Anabaptists of the Era

1. Zurich and Zollikon: The First Anabaptist Fellowship

2. Anabaptism in St. Gall, the Canton of Appenzell, and Rheintal

a. The Zwingli-Hubmaier Debate, May–November 1525, Setting the Terms of the Baptismal Controversy

b. Reublin Baptizes Hubmaier in Waldshut

3. The Anabaptist Missionaries and Hubmaier Face the Magistrates in Zurich

4. The Spread of Anabaptism in Basel and Bern

7. South German and Austrian Anabaptism, 1525–1527

1. John Denck’s Banishment from Nuremberg

2. Louis Haetzer and John Denck in Augsburg

3. John Denck in Strassburg and Worms

4. John Hut

5. Austrian Anabaptism

6. The Martyrs’ Synod in Augsburg, August 1527

8. The Schleitheim Confession of 1527: Swiss and South German Developments to 1531

1. “The Brotherly Union of a Number of Children of God Concerning Seven Articles,” Schleitheim, 24 February 1527

2. The Trial and Martyrdom of Michael Sattler

3. Anabaptism Elsewhere in South Germany, East of the Rhine, from 1527 to 1531

4. Swiss Developments between Zwingli’s Refutation of the Schleitheim Confession in 1527 and Henry Bullinger’s Attack in 1531

a. Zwingli’s Elenchus

b. Basel: Three Radical Physicians: Paracelsus, Servetus, and Brunfels

c. Bern

d. Bullinger’s Von dem unverschamten frävel, 1531

9. Radical Christianity in the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Margraviate of Moravia, 1526–1529

1. Utraquists and the Two Parties of the Unity of the Czech Brethren to 1526

a. The Hussite Legacy

b. The Schism of the Minor Party and the Major Party of the Unity of the Czech Brethren on the Eve of the Protestant Reformation

2. Anabaptist Refugee Colonies in Moravia

a. Hubmaier, Anabaptist Patriarch of Nicolsburg (Mikulov)

b. The Ministry “of the Two Swords” in Chiliastic Context: The Nicolsburg Disputation, May 1527: Hut vs. Hubmaier

c. The Martyrdom of Hubmaier

d. The First Anabaptist Communitarians: Austerlitz (Slavkov), 1528

10. Speyer and Strassburg, 1529: Magisterial and Radical Reformations in a Representative Urban Republic

Part I

1. The Diet of Speyer, 1529: The Magisterial vs. the Radical Reformation, 1522–1529

2. Strassburg, 1522–1529: Urban Republic under the Impact of Reform

a. An Emerging Christocracy

b. An Excursus on the Triplex Munus Christi

c. Sectarian Refugees in Strassburg, 1524–1529

Part II

3. Strassburg, 1529–1533

a. John Bünderlin and Johannes Baptista Italus, 1529

b. Caspar Schwenckfeld, 1529

c. Melchior Hofmann, 1529

d. Sebastian Franck, 1529

e. Christian Entfelder, 1529

f. Michael Servetus, 1531

g. John Campanus, 1532

h. Pilgram Marpeck among Sectarians in the City of Refuge, 1529/31–33

4. The Synod of Strassburg and Its Consequences, 1533–1535

a. Preparations for the Territorial Synod

b. The Territorial Synod, June 1533

c. The Consequences of the Synod, 1533–1535,

11. Unusual Doctrines and Institutions of the Radical Reformation

1. Baptismal Theologies in the Radical Reformation

a. Hubmaier and the Baptismal Theology of the Swiss Anabaptists

b. The Baptismal Theology of Three Degrees or Intensities: Denck, Hut, Hofmann

c. The Nuptial Baptismal Theology of John Campanus

d. The Nuptial Apocalyptic Baptismal Theology of Melchior Hofmann

e. Baptism at Age Thirty: Michael Servetus

f. Baptism Saves Those Incapable of Articulate Faith: Paracelsus

2. Alterations in the Doctrine of the Trinity

a. The Initial Indifference of the Magisterial Reformers to the Nicaenum

b. Trinitarian, Antitrinitarian, Anti-Nicene

c. Selected Radical Triadologies

(1) Christian Entfelder

(2) Michael Servetus

(3) John Campanus

(4) Claude of Savoy,

(5) Caspar Schwenckfeld

3. Intercessores, Mediatrix, Unus Mediator: New and Old Emphases in Christology

a. Abandonment of the Belief in the Intercession of Saints and in Mary as Mediatrix

b. The Emerging Conceptualization of Christ as Sole Mediator in the Triplex Munus Christi

c. Controversy over Christ the Mediator, Whether in His Human Nature or in Both Natures: Königsberg, 1551

d. Alterations in Understanding the (Two) Nature(s) of Christ

(1) Clement Ziegler and Melchior Hofmann

(2) Caspar Schwenckfeld

(3) Michael Servetus,

(4) The Lord’s Supper in the Theology of Ziegler and Servetus

e. Adorantism and Nonadorantism of Christ

4. Eschatology in the Radical Reformation: The Lex Sedentium

a. Ancient Eschatology and Apocalyptic Recovered

b. The Prophet as Spiritual Teacher and Forthteller: The Lex Sedentium among Magisterial and Radical Reformers

c. The Eschatology of the Charismatic Prophet, Melchior Hofmann

12. The Spread of Melchiorite Anabaptism in The Netherlands and North Germany to 1534

1. The Netherlandish Sacramentists, 1524–1530

2. Libertines or Spiritualizers

3. The Melchiorites (Hofmannites) and Obbenites in East Frisia and The Netherlands

4. Evangelical Catholic Reform, Popular Piety, and Melchiorite Anabaptism in the Rhineland around Cologne

13. Münster, 1531–1535

1. Pastor Bernard Rothmann and Mayor Bernard Knipperdolling and the Beginnings of the Reformation in Münster, July 1531

2. The Arrival of the Melchiorite-Johannite Emissaries in Münster

3. Rothmann’s Restitution and On Vengeance (1534)

4. Restitution and Revenge by the Ungodly

5. David Joris and the Batenburgers at Bocholt, 1536

14. The Regrouping of Forces after the Münster Debacle: Mennonitism

1. Menno Simons: His Early Career and Conversion

2. “The Foundation,” 1540: Christology and the Ban

3. The Spread of Anabaptism in the Southern Netherlands (Belgium)

4. Lollardy and English Anabaptists to 1540

a. Lollardy

b. Netherlandish Anabaptists in England

15. Sacramentists and Anabaptists in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to 1548

1. The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: General Orientation

2. Religious Changes in Lands of the Commonwealth, Mostly Peripheral to Cultural “Polonia”

a. Royal and Ducal Prussia

b. The Radical Onset to What Would Become the Lutheran Reformation in a Large Part of Livonia

3. Silesian Spiritualism and Anabaptism, 1527–1548: Andrew Fischer, Sabbatarian Anabaptists in Silesia, Moravia, Slovakia

a. Schwenckfeldians and Anabaptists in Silesia, 1527–1548

b. Gabriel Ascherham: Spiritualist Anabaptist

4. Anabaptists Settling in Great and Little Poland from Silesia, Moravia, and Hapsburg Hungary (Slovakia)

16. The Hutterites, 1529–1540

1. Anabaptists in Moravia from 1529 to the Death of Jacob Hutter in 1536

2. From the Death of Hutter in 1536 to the “Account” of Peter Riedemann in 1540

3. Theology and Institutions of Hutterite Communism

17. Anabaptism in Middle Germany, 1527–1538

1. Philip of Hesse and Melchior Rinck: The Legacy of John Hut in Middle Germany from the End of the Peasants’ War to the Fall of Münster

2. Peter Tasch and George Schnabel: The Melchiorite Legacy in Central Germany after 1535

3. Schnabel before Bucer and Eisermann: The Marburg Anabaptist Disputation of 1538

18. Definitive Encounter between Evangelical Anabaptism and Evangelical Spiritualism

1. Marpeck in the Decade before the Great Debate, 1532–1542

2. Schwenckfeld, 1534–1541

a. Schwenckfeld in Strassburg, 1533

b. Ten Months from Strassburg, Visiting Friends en route to Augsburg, 1534

c. Schwenckfeld, 1534–1541

3. Sebastian Franck, 1531, to His Death in 1542

4. Marpeck and Schwenckfeld, 1542

5. The Basic Points at Issue

19. Spiritualism and Rigorism among the Netherlanders and Lower Germans, 1540/43–1568

1. Netherlandish Spiritualism: Henry Niclaes and the Familists; The Dissimulation of David Joris

2. Netherlandish Anabaptism Becomes Rigoristic with the Ban and Shunning

a. Menno: From His Exile from The Netherlands in 1543 to the Wismar Resolutions of 1554

b. Dirk Philips

c. Adam Pastor: Unitarian Anabaptist

d. Leonard Bouwens and the Withdrawal of the Waterlanders

3. From the Death of Menno in 1561 to the Death of Dirk Philips in 1568: The Influence of Sebastian Franck

a. “Het Offer des Heeren,” 1562, 748

b. The Spiritualist Crisis of 1564–1567

c. The Enchiridion of 1564

20. Marriage, Family Life, and Divorce in the Radical Reformation

1. Some Marital Motifs among Some of the Radicals

2. Medieval, Renaissance, Magisterial Protestant Changes in Marriage

a. The Medieval Canonical Legacy

b. Renaissance Challenge to the Superiority of the Ascetic Ideal

c. Magisterial Marriage

3. Covenantal Marriage

a. Separation and Divorce among Germanic Anabaptists

b. Varieties of Marriage and Biblical Literalism

c. Marriage and Divorce in Some Other Sectors of the Radical Reform

4. The Reappropriation by Luther of Tertullian’s Traducianism: A Major Shift in the Conceptualization of Parenthood and Family in the Sixteenth Century

21. Waldensians, 1510–1532; Italian Anabaptists, 1525–1533; Italian Evangelicals, 1530–1542

1. Heretical Groupings in the Italy of the Philologically Challenged Donation of Constantine: Evangelical Rationalism

2. The Italian Waldensians from 1510 to the General Council of Cianforan in 1532

3. Anabaptists in South Tyrol and the Venetian Republic, 1525–1533

4. John Valdés in the Kingdom of Naples, 1534–1541

5. Bernardine Ochino of Siena, Capuchin Evangelist of Italy: Radicals among the Refugees

6. The Viterbo “Spirituali” and the Beneficio di Cristo

22. The Radical Reformation in Italy and the Rhaetian Republic (Graubünden)

1. Radicalism in Rhaetia to 1552: Camillo Renato

2. The Italian Anabaptist Movement Outside Rhaetia, 1533–1551

a. The Special Religio-Political Status of Venetia among the Italian States: Its Eschatological Idealization by William Postel

b. Radicalized Valdesianism: Busale, Laureto, and Tizzano,

c. Giacometto Stringaro and Il Tiziano,

d. The Anabaptist Synod in Venice, 1550, and the Defection of Peter Manelfi in 1551

3. Continued Schism and Heresy in Rhaetia, 1552–1561

4. Laelius Socinus and Francis Stancaro to 1550

5. Italian Anabaptists, 1551–1565: Relations with the Hutterites

6. Italian Libertinism and Nicodemism

23. Calvin and the Radical Reformation

1. Calvin’s Personal Contacts with Psychopannychists

2. Evangelicals in France, 1516–1561: Nicodemites and Libertines

3. Swiss Anabaptism from the Death of Zwingli to Calvin’s Major Attack, 1531–1544

a. Calvin Confronts Anabaptists in Geneva

b. Peter Caroli of Lausanne Charges Calvin with Arianism

c. Calvin Confronts Anabaptists in Strassburg, among Them His Future Wife

d. Bernese Anabaptism, 1531–1541

e. Calvin Deals with International Anabaptism from His Secured City Canton

4. Calvin and Servetus

5. Calvin, Bullinger, and Beza Face Challenges on the Trinity and Christ the Mediator from Italians, Poles, and Transylvanians

24. Radical Italian Evangelicals in Swiss Exile

1. The Relationship of Anabaptism and Antitrinitarianism

2. Italian Evangelical Rationalists in the Diaspora

a. Matthew Gribaldi

b. Coelius Secundus Curio

c. “Alphonsus Lyncurius Tarraconensis”: An Apology for Servetus

d. Sebastian Castellio

e. Bernardine Ochino

f. Laelius Socinus (Lelio Sozzini)

3. The Second Generation of Italian Radicals in Switzerland: The Formative Milieu of Faustus Socinus

a. Zurich and Basel after the Expulsion of Ochino, 1562

b. George Biandrata and John Valentine Gentile

4. Faustus Socinus to 1579, from Siena to Basel

25. The Slavic Reformation in Poland and Lithuania, 1548–65

Part I: Devolution of the Dogma of the Trinity in Reformed Synodal Debate, 1550–1565

1. The Reformed Synods of the Commonwealth, 1550–1565

a. The Reformed Synod in Poland, 1550–1556

b. Stancaro Involved in the Osiandrian Controversy in Königsberg, 1551

c. The Czech Brethren in Great Poland and the Reformed in Little Poland

d. Francis Lismanino, the Potential Leader of the Commonwealth Reformed, Goes Abroad, 1553

e. The Poles and Their Swiss Advisors’ Fleeting Vision of a Reformed Commonwealth

f. The Polish Interim, May 1555

g. The Swiss Looking from the Alps Out upon the Polish and the Ruthenian Plains and Marshes

h. Peter Gonesius, a Polish Servetian, Sounds a New Theological Concern amid Hopes for a National Reform Council

i. The Poles Count on the Swiss Divines as Their Spokesmen at a National Debate on Reform

2. The Reformation in the Commonwealth “Under” Łaski, 1556–1560

a. Peter Paul Vergerio Seeks to Convert Sigismund II to the Augsburg Confession

b. Traits of the Reformer John Łaski (1499–1560)

c. Łaski Appeals in Vain to Sigismund in Vilna, 1557

d. Issues of Polity and Theology: A Synopsis of the Drama Ahead: Four Incipient Reformed Synods

e. Churchly Organization and Synodal Issues, June 1557 to the Death of Łaski, January 1560

f. Dr. George Biandrata, Midwife of the Minor Church

3. The Increasingly Radical Thrust in the Commonwealth between the Deaths of Łaski and Calvin, 1560–1564

Part II: From Antipedobaptism to Believers’ Immersion, 1556–1565

4. Anti-Nicene Antipedobaptism in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland, 1548–1565

26. The Hutterites in Moravia, 1542–1578

1. The Coepiscopate of Lanzenstiel and Riedemann, 1542–1556/65

2. Divisiveness among, and Ecumenical Overtures to, the Moravian Anabaptists

3. Good Years Under the Patriarch Peter Walpot, 1565–1578

27. The Antipedobaptist, Anti-Nicene Minor Churches, 1565–1574

1. Early Strains and Stresses in the Minor Church

2. Adjustments in Anti-Nicene Baptismal Theology, 1565–1569

3. The Founding of Raków, 1569

28. The Rise of Unitarianism in the Magyar Reformed Synod in Transylvania

1. The Acceleration of Radical Trends in the Transylvanian Reformation to 1557

2. Unitarianism becomes Explicit

3. Antipedobaptist (Nonadorant) Unitarianism in Transylvania

from the Death of John Sigismund to the Death of Dávid, 1571–1579

29. Sectarianism and Spiritualism in Poland, 1572–1582

Part I: The Pre-Socinian Polish Brethren, 1572–1580

1. The Controversy over the Sword, 1572–1575

2. The Pax Dissidentium, 1573

3. The Catechism of George Schomann, 1574

4. The Controversy over the Adoration of Christ: Budny’s Radical Theology

5. The Interpretation and Toleration of Non-Christian Religions

6. Italian Emigrés in Switzerland and the East

7. The Development of the Polish Brethren from 1575 to the Advent of Faustus Socinus in 1579

Part II: The Polish Brethren under the Intellectual Pressure of Faustus Socinus, 1580–1585

8. Faustus Socinus, 1579–1585/1604

9. The Beginning of Organized Socinianism: The Third Baptismal Controversy in the Minor Church

30. Developments in The Netherlands, 1566–1578, and in England

1. The Flight of the Flemings and the Flemish-Frisian Schism

2. The Rise of the Calvinists and the Achievement of Toleration for the Mennonites, 1561/66–1578

a. The Emden Disputation, 1578

b. Dirk Coornhert and Civil Liberty of Conscience (1522–1590)

c. The Waterlanders, 1568–1581

d. The Mennonites Achieve Toleration: End of an Epoch, 1577

3. Antitrinitarians, Anabaptists, and Familists in England, 1547–1579

a. The Strangers’ Church at Austin Friars, London, 1550–1553: John Łaski

b. Nonconformists under Edward and Mary, 1547–1558

c. Nonconformists under Elizabeth

d. Brownism and Barrowism, 1588–1607

e. English Familism Evolves

31. German and Swiss Anabaptism, Spiritualism, and Evangelical Rationalism, 1542–1578

1. German and Swiss Anabaptism, 1542–1575

a. The Schwenckfeld-Marpeck Debate, Phase II, 1542–1556

b. From the Death of Marpeck to the Translation of Menno into High German, 1556–1575

2. University-Based German Unitarianism, 1555–1579

3. German Spiritualism and Proto-Pietism, 1542–1578

32. Law and Gospel: Implicit Separatist Ecumenicity

1. Word and Spirit: The Bible and the Radical Reformation

a. Translations and the Canon

b. Word and Spirit

c. Anabaptist Hermeneutical Principles

2. Implicit or Explicit Ecumenicity

a. Pagans, Jews, and Muslims in the Perspective of the Radical Reformation

b. The Belief that Christ Died for the Salvation of All Humankind

c. The Doctrine of Christ’s Redemptive Descent into Hades

d. The Doctrine of Election to Salvation

e. The Missionary Impulse of the Radical Reformation

f. The Authority of Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King

3. Magisterial and Lay Reformations

33. The Radical Reformation: A Comprehensive Perspective on the Shaping of Classical Protestantism


Index of Source Documents

Index of Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms, Canons, and Articles of Faith, Conscience, and Petition

Index of Colloquies, Councils, Debates, and Synods

Index of Scripture References

Subject Index

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