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202 Reviews very short and rather general in nature. In conclusion, this book is seemingly intended for the pubUc interested in the English medieval nobility and for undergraduate students. Its many tables plotting English noble families and their properties, its references to nobles in various parts of England, its clear and detailed explanation of changes to the nobiUty and its role over the period from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries make this book essential to any undergraduate library or for any scholar teaching courses on medieval England. Anne Gilmour-Bryson Department of History University of Melbourne Goertz, Hans-Jiirgen, The Anabaptists (Christianity and Society in th Modern World), trans. Trevor Johnson, London and N e w York, Routledge, 1996; board; pp. xviii, 215; R.R.P. US$65.00, £45.00. This book has undergone considerable change and development since its original German publication in 1980 under the title Die Tdufer. Geschichte und Deutung. A revised second edition in 1988 included a n e w section on central German Anabaptism. In 1996 it appeared in EngUsh in the Routledge series, 'Christianity and Society in the Modern World', with an expanded opening chapter, including a brief account of early Anabaptism in England, and a revised historiographical introduction. The author's intent, however, remains the same as in the first edition—to 'synthesise the results of recent research' from the different approaches of theology and ecclesiastical history, cultural history and social history, and thereby to present a 'fresh overview of Anabaptism'. In the opinion of this reviewer, he has succeeded admirably in achieving his aim. Goertz's first chapter sets a pattern for the whole work in identifying its subject not as 'the alternative of Anabaptism' but rather 'Anabaptist alternatives'. Firmly committed to a polygenetic view of Anabaptism, he sketches in outline the extraordinarily varied movements generally included under the umbreUa of Anabaptism, Reviews 203 and rejects any suggestion that there was an original form—an 'UrAnabaptism ' or 'real' Anabaptism. The treatment of the alternative versions of Anabaptism in each case is spare, but excellent documentation provides the opportunity for following up detaU at any point. The second chapter investigates the basic tenets of Anabaptism under an overarching theme of anti-clericalism which enables him to explore recurrent themes. Goertz sees m a n y of the Anabaptist leaders as having developed their thoughts on faith and salvation under the pressure of anti-clericalism and a drive for moral improvement, but he insists that their concepts were not ready-made in advance but discovered in the course of fierce struggles and bitter experience. Baptism, the subject of the third chapter, is interpreted as 'simply one aspect of an anticlerically motivated endeavour to restore a faUen Christianity'. The varied approaches to the baptismal rite are shown to mustrate preoccupation with the same problem, but based on widely differing arguments. A chapter on the ecclesiological dimension of Anabaptism foUows, in which Goertz makes a persuasive case that the 'free-Church' idea of congregational organisation was not a ready-made blueprint but was only developed as an alternative when attempts to achieve a radical reform of the poUtical and ecclesiastical life of their community encountered opposition. Only then did the conception of the true church as a distinct alternative to the existing form of Christianity emerge. Chapter Five, written for the English edition, is an attempt to look beyond the largely clerical elite which stamped its seal on the Anabaptist movements, to the c o m m o n people w h o provided most of the support, including the w o m e n w h o have so far received insufficient attention but w h o clearly played major roles in anticlerical agitation and in the active work of reform, including preaching, celebrating communion and baptising. A m o n g these groups the notion of the 'priesthood of aU beUevers' appears to have been implemented with particular zeal. The final chapter deals with the action taken against Anabaptists by the authorities and explores their status as heretics, rebels or martyrs', characterising their misfortunes in rather traditional terms 204 Reviews as 'a mUestone on the road to modern religious liberty and freedom...


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