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Baptism, Brotherhood, and Belief in Reformation GermanyAnabaptism and Lutheranism, 1525–1585$
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Kat Hill

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733546

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733546.001.0001

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The Curious Case of Hans Thon

The Curious Case of Hans Thon

(p.199) 7 The Curious Case of Hans Thon
Baptism, Brotherhood, and Belief in Reformation Germany

Kat Hill

Oxford University Press

In 1564 a shepherd called Hans Thon was arrested in the imperial town of Mühlhausen. Thon’s views were radical: he denied the Trinity; claimed that the Devil had created the world; and rejected Christ’s salvific sacrifice. Despite this, he was not immediately executed and was not an isolated sectarian but managed to escape, only to be re-apprehended in 1583. His case illuminates how deeply embedded Anabaptists were in local communities, even when they expressed profoundly radical views, and throws light on the problems that the Lutheran clergy faced in combatting Anabaptism since Thon and other Anabaptists worried about issues at the heart of Lutheran theology. Anabaptism did not simply end in persecution or decline. In central Germany, it was deeply entrenched in local communities and continued to stimulate non-conformist responses which shaped the pastoral environment.

Keywords:   Lutheran orthodoxy, Manichean, original sin, non-conformity, community, Mühlhausen, salvation

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