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God, Christ, and Serfdom: Christian Egalitarianism in the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants (1525)

God, Christ, and Serfdom: Christian Egalitarianism in the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian... God, Christ, and Serfdom: Christian Egalitarianism in the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants (1525) By Frederick Marquardt For historians of the Peasants’ War the single most important document is the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian peasants. Its genesis and wide circulation qualifyitasasourcethatprovidesaccesstotheconcernsandthinkingofmanyof the tens of thousands of peasants who rose up against their lords. The Third Article is the most radical and has attracted the most attention. It cites Christ’s sacrificeofhimselfonthecrossforallmankindasthebasisforclaimingtheright tofreedomfromserfdom:“Ithasbeenthepracticeuntilnowformentoholdus astheirserfs,whichispitiable,giventhatChristredeemedusallbysheddinghis precious blood, the shepherd as well as the great, no one excepted. Thus the scriptureshows thatweare freeand wantto be[free].” Thislinkagehasrelevanceforbigissuesofinterpretation.Itraisesthequestion of the relationship between religion, especially the evangelical reformations of LutherandZwingli,andthepeasantrebellion.Butinthatmuchcitedtextexactly what is the connection between Christ’s sacrifice to atone for man’s sin and the peasants’ claim to freedom from serfdom? The first is a matter of a man’s soul; thelatter, ofhis body, his lifeamong peoplein thematerial world. Intothe middle decades of the 20th century it was common for historians to see the link as a misunderstanding by common people of Martin Luther’s con- ceptof“Christianfreedom,”asarticulatedinTheFreedomoftheChristianPerson (1520). There Luther asserts that when a person comes to true faith in Christ’s atonementforhissinsandreceivesGod’sgrace,heexperiencesawonderfulspiri- tual liberation, freed from crushing existential anxiety about his sinfulness and fromthedesperationoftryingtopleaseGodthroughgoodworks. Inthe1520s http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte - Archive for Reformation History de Gruyter

God, Christ, and Serfdom: Christian Egalitarianism in the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants (1525)

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2021 by Gütersloher Verlagshaus
eISSN
2198-0489
DOI
10.14315/arg-2016-1070103
Publisher site
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Abstract

God, Christ, and Serfdom: Christian Egalitarianism in the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants (1525) By Frederick Marquardt For historians of the Peasants’ War the single most important document is the Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian peasants. Its genesis and wide circulation qualifyitasasourcethatprovidesaccesstotheconcernsandthinkingofmanyof the tens of thousands of peasants who rose up against their lords. The Third Article is the most radical and has attracted the most attention. It cites Christ’s sacrificeofhimselfonthecrossforallmankindasthebasisforclaimingtheright tofreedomfromserfdom:“Ithasbeenthepracticeuntilnowformentoholdus astheirserfs,whichispitiable,giventhatChristredeemedusallbysheddinghis precious blood, the shepherd as well as the great, no one excepted. Thus the scriptureshows thatweare freeand wantto be[free].” Thislinkagehasrelevanceforbigissuesofinterpretation.Itraisesthequestion of the relationship between religion, especially the evangelical reformations of LutherandZwingli,andthepeasantrebellion.Butinthatmuchcitedtextexactly what is the connection between Christ’s sacrifice to atone for man’s sin and the peasants’ claim to freedom from serfdom? The first is a matter of a man’s soul; thelatter, ofhis body, his lifeamong peoplein thematerial world. Intothe middle decades of the 20th century it was common for historians to see the link as a misunderstanding by common people of Martin Luther’s con- ceptof“Christianfreedom,”asarticulatedinTheFreedomoftheChristianPerson (1520). There Luther asserts that when a person comes to true faith in Christ’s atonementforhissinsandreceivesGod’sgrace,heexperiencesawonderfulspiri- tual liberation, freed from crushing existential anxiety about his sinfulness and fromthedesperationoftryingtopleaseGodthroughgoodworks. Inthe1520s

Journal

Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte - Archive for Reformation Historyde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2016

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