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Michael Sattler and the Peasants Revolt of 1525

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Who was Michael Sattler? At a commemoration of his being burned at the stake in 1527 the historian Ivan Kauffman presented this year by year story of his life, which took him from medieval monk to founder of the Amish and Mennonites.

Published in: Spiritual

Michael Sattler and the Peasants Revolt of 1525

  1. 1. Michael Sattler and the Peasants Revolt of 1525
  2. 2. Michael Sattler and the Peasants Revolt of 1525 Christian Faith, Politics, and Social Justice
  3. 3. Staufen im Breisgau • Photo from Google • Staufen
  4. 4. Staufen im Breisgau • Photo from Google • Staufen
  5. 5. Staufen im Breisgau • Photo from Google • Staufen
  6. 6. Staufen im Breisgau • Photo from Google • Staufen
  7. 7. Peasant or Burger?
  8. 8. Peasant or Burger?
  9. 9. Peasant or Burger?
  10. 10. Freiburg • Photo from Google • Freiburg • Staufen
  11. 11. Freiburg • Photo from Google • Freiburg • Staufen
  12. 12. Freiburg • Photo from Google • Freiburg • Staufen
  13. 13. Freiburg • Photo from Google • Freiburg • Staufen
  14. 14. St. Peters Abbey • Photo from Google • St. Peter‟s • Freiburg • Staufen
  15. 15. St. Peters Abbey • Photo from Google • St. Peter‟s • Freiburg • Staufen
  16. 16. St. Peters Abbey • Photo from Google • St. Peter‟s • Freiburg • Staufen
  17. 17. Freiburg University “Around 1500 about 6,000 young men were studying in German universities, of which a few grew to supra-regional size and standing, while others, such as tiny Freiberg im Breisgau could boast a mere 100 students.” Brady, 25
  18. 18. Freiburg University “Around 1500 about 6,000 young men were studying in German universities, of which a few grew to supra-regional size and standing, while others, such as tiny Freiberg im Breisgau could boast a mere 100 students.” Brady, 25 “In the Breisgau the people first affected by Luther‟s message were quite naturally those close to the academic community—the professors, students, and graduates of the University of Freiburg.” Snyder, 50
  19. 19. 1512  Abbot Petrus III dies
  20. 20. 1512  Abbot Petrus III dies  He had rebuilt St. Peter‟s and established its reputation as a place of learning and Benedictine practice
  21. 21. 1512  Abbot Petrus III dies  He had rebuilt St. Peter‟s and established its reputation as a place of learning and Benedictine practice  It is likely that he had been Sattler‟s patron and mentor
  22. 22. 1512  Abbot Petrus III dies  He had rebuilt St. Peter‟s and established its reputation as a place of learning and Benedictine practice  It is likely that he had been Sattler‟s patron and mentor  He is replaced by Abbot Jodocus
  23. 23. 1513 In 1513 the monastery annals recorded a Bundschuh revolt on the outskirts of Freiberg.
  24. 24. 1513 In 1513 the monastery annals recorded a Bundschuh revolt on the outskirts of Freiberg. “The Peasants‟ War culminated a generation of rural conspiracies. “They began in 1493 with one that flew the sign of the laced farmers boot, the Bundschuh. “In such groups first appeared a new slogan, „the godly law‟.” Brady, 186
  25. 25. 1514 “In 1514 extremely unfavorable weather is reported. “The monastery helped the city of Freiburg by sending in six wagonloads of wheat.” “Beginning in 1515 we have notices of several self-donations to the monastery. “It seems that economic hardship was the primary motive.” Snyder, 42
  26. 26. Poor Conrad Revolt “For centuries feuding had been habitual in all of the Empire‟s governing classes, and the commoners learned from the nobles. “By the 15th century revolts by burgers and peasants became common from Upper Swabia to the Black Forest. “The rebels aimed to defend property and livelihood by forcing the nobles to negotiate grievances and acknowledge the rights of their subjects. “Revolt was, in effect, a mass feud conducted by common people.” Brady, 96
  27. 27. 1515 “The Bundschuh and the Poor Conrad were only the two most important of a wave of discontent in South Germany between 1513 and 1517.
  28. 28. 1515 “The Bundschuh and the Poor Conrad were only the two most important of a wave of discontent in South Germany between 1513 and 1517. “Events in this decade were characterized by growing radicalism in the rebel demands, and by growing participation of urban commoners. “They were also characterized by the spread of the principle of godly law as a justification for revolt. “Almanacs and astrologers predicted trouble in 1524.” Brady and Midelfort, xiii-iv
  29. 29. Erasmus came to Basle in August 1514. His multi- volume edition of Jerome‟s works was published in 1516, followed by his text of the Greek New Testament, and a revised translation of the Vulgate. 1516-18
  30. 30. Erasmus came to Basle in August 1514. His multi- volume edition of Jerome‟s works was published in 1516, followed by his text of the Greek New Testament, and a revised translation of the Vulgate. “The years 1516-18 were the culmination of Erasmus‟ career. Applauding crowds surrounded him.” The Freiburg jurist Ulrich Zasius wrote, “I am pointed out in public as the man who has received a letter from Erasmus.” His colleague on the University faculty, Wolfgang Capito wrote, “I know and I teach nothing but Erasmus now.” 1516-18 “The faith in an easy triumph of pure knowledge and Christian meekness in a near future speaks from the preface of Erasmus‟ edition of the New Testament.” Huizinga, 89-99
  31. 31. 1517 “After 1517 reformist enthusiasm spread through Germany, fanned by Luther's eloquence, and by the underlying anticlericalism of many Germans, who had long resented clerical privileges and exactions.
  32. 32. 1517 “After 1517 reformist enthusiasm spread through Germany, fanned by Luther's eloquence, and by the underlying anticlericalism of many Germans, who had long resented clerical privileges and exactions. “By 1521 the spark ignited in 1517 had become a conflagration.” Maltby, 24 “With or without permission printers greedily snapped up and published the young monk‟s pronouncements. “Thousands across Europe now read him and gathered their own impressions.” Marty, 34-35
  33. 33. 1517 The monastery's annals report “In the year 1517, in which Martin Luther began to spread his teachings, there was an enormous shortage of crops lasting the entire year. “Earthquakes were felt in many places with enormous injury. “For many people the earthquakes were followed by a mortal illness of the head and the destruction of the mind.” Snyder, 41
  34. 34. 1517 The monastery's annals report “In the year 1517, in which Martin Luther began to spread his teachings, there was an enormous shortage of crops lasting the entire year. “Clouds of tough mercenaries, back from the Italian Wars, scoured the poorly policed southern regions to make up their lost pay by robbing peasants and merchants. “Earthquakes were felt in many places with enormous injury. “In 1517 rural insurrection flared once again on the Upper Rhine. Its leader was the charismatic Joss Fritz, whose banner flew the Bundschuh. “For many people the earthquakes were followed by a mortal illness of the head and the destruction of the mind.” “It was the beginning of a great wave of rural insurrections.” Snyder, 41 Brady, 123
  35. 35. 1518 “The miserable end of Maximilian's Italian Wars provoked an important change of mood, which surfaced at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518. It was anti-Roman and anti-Italian.
  36. 36. 1518 “The miserable end of Maximilian's Italian Wars provoked an important change of mood, which surfaced at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518. It was anti-Roman and anti-Italian. “The humiliation felt at the Italian defeats was accomplishing what the Emperor Maximilian's braggadocio had never been able to do, diverting attention to the foreign foes responsible for German woes.”
  37. 37. 1518 “The miserable end of Maximilian's Italian Wars provoked an important change of mood, which surfaced at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518. It was anti-Roman and anti-Italian. “The humiliation felt at the Italian defeats was accomplishing what the Emperor Maximilian's braggadocio had never been able to do, diverting attention to the foreign foes responsible for German woes.” “At the Diet of Augsburg Martin Luther rose out of his provincial obscurity into the Empire‟s public life.” Brady, 123-24; 147
  38. 38. The Political Triangle Pope Prince Emperor
  39. 39. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.
  40. 40. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.  Famine which began in 1513 continues for a seventh year.
  41. 41. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.  Famine which began in 1513 continues for a seventh year.  Up to half the monks, and many others, die in a plague epidemic.
  42. 42. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.  Famine which began in 1513 continues for a seventh year.  Up to half the monks, and many others, die in a plague epidemic.  An additional tax to finance the Turkish War is imposed.
  43. 43. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.  Famine which began in 1513 continues for a seventh year.  Up to half the monks, and many others, die in a plague epidemic.  An additional tax to finance the Turkish War is imposed.  Luther moves from protest to open revolt.
  44. 44. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.  Famine which began in 1513 continues for a seventh year.  Up to half the monks, and many others, die in a plague epidemic.  An additional tax to finance the Turkish War is imposed.  Luther moves from protest to open revolt.  St. Peters joins the Bursfeld monastic reform.
  45. 45. 1519  Emperor Maximilian dies.  Famine which began in 1513 continues for a seventh year.  Up to half the monks, and many others, die in a plague epidemic.  An additional tax to finance the Turkish War is imposed.  Luther moves from protest to open revolt.  St. Peters joins the Bursfeld monastic reform.  Michael Sattler is appointed prior of St. Peters.
  46. 46. 1520  Pope Leo threatens Luther with excommunication.
  47. 47. 1520  Pope Leo threatens Luther with excommunication.  Luther responds by publicly burning the papal bull.
  48. 48. 1520  Pope Leo threatens Luther with excommunication.  Luther responds by publicly burning the papal bull.  Publishes The Babylonian Captivity and The Freedom of the Christian Man. Says he is now certain “the pope is the Antichrist”.
  49. 49. 1520  Pope Leo threatens Luther with excommunication.  Luther responds by publicly burning the papal bull.  Publishes The Babylonian Captivity and The Freedom of the Christian Man. Says he is now certain “the pope is the Antichrist”.  Suliman the Magnificent at the head of the Turkish army advances up the Danube Valley.
  50. 50. 1520  Pope Leo threatens Luther with excommunication.  Luther responds by publicly burning the papal bull.  Publishes The Babylonian Captivity and The Freedom of the Christian Man. Says he is now certain “the pope is the Antichrist”.  Suliman the Magnificent at the head of the Turkish army advances up the Danube Valley.  Charles V, elected emperor at age 20, raises hopes he will solve the rapidly growing political-religious crisis in Germany.
  51. 51. 1521 The Diet at Worms “When Luther arrived at Worms, some half a million copies of his writings were in print, an explosion unfathomable in its uniqueness and its power.
  52. 52. 1521 The Diet at Worms “When Luther arrived at Worms, some half a million copies of his writings were in print, an explosion unfathomable in its uniqueness and its power. “Germans immediately saw that if Luther was not a damnable heretic, as Church and Empire had pronounced him to be, he was perhaps a great new prophet.” Brady, 156
  53. 53. The Great Division
  54. 54. “If I am not overcome by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or the clear arguments of reasons—for I believe in neither popes nor councils alone as witnesses, since they have often erred and contradicted themselves—I remain overcome by the Bible as I have explained it. “I can and will recount nothing, because it is always burdensome, unwholesome, and dangerous to act against one‟s conscience. God help me! Amen.” The Great Division
  55. 55. “If I am not overcome by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or the clear arguments of reasons—for I believe in neither popes nor councils alone as witnesses, since they have often erred and contradicted themselves—I remain overcome by the Bible as I have explained it. “I can and will recount nothing, because it is always burdensome, unwholesome, and dangerous to act against one‟s conscience. God help me! Amen.” The Great Division “It is certain that a single monk errors in his opinion, which is against what all of Christendom has held for over a thousand years to the present. “According to Luther's opinion all of Christendom has always been in error.”
  56. 56. 1522 Archduke Ferdinand “The Habsburgs had pursued an aggressive policy of acquisition in Alsace and the Breisgau since the 14th century, and this continued unabated in the 16th. “In 1521 Charles V began to transfer control of his eastern territories to his brother and in February 1522 the Breisgau came under Ferdinand‟s direct control. “Ferdinand was a militant Catholic, and he moved forward with a purpose, as will be noted presently. “ Snyder, 51
  57. 57. The University Divides “By the beginning of the 1520s, Sattler saw the university that had provided him with a humanistic education under Capito and his other teachers take a very different direction under Zasius. “Perhaps Zasius‟ betrayal of Capito, and thus his betrayal of humanist ideals, encouraged Sattler to follow the path he would. “Given the position of the university in which „the mere appearance of the prince‟ was determinative—to the detriment of the Reformation—he was in a difficult situation.” Muhleisen
  58. 58. Revolt at St. Peter‟s “The peasants were clearly feeling the economic squeeze, but the monastery was likewise having financial difficulty. “The increasing financial pressure from the Habsburg government exacerbated these conditions. “The Habsburgs imposed a new tax on its subjects in 1519, and Abbot Jodocus passed it on to the monastery‟s tenants.
  59. 59. Revolt at St. Peter‟s “The peasants were clearly feeling the economic squeeze, but the monastery was likewise having financial difficulty. “The increasing financial pressure from the Habsburg government exacerbated these conditions. “The Habsburgs imposed a new tax on its subjects in 1519, and Abbot Jodocus passed it on to the monastery‟s tenants. “The peasants refused to pay, whereupon Abbot Jodocus appealed to the local Habsburg authorities. “The peasants in turn appealed to the local margrave, who in March of 1522 invaded St. Peter‟s with an army of mercenaries, putting Abbot Jodocus to flight.” Snyder, 42
  60. 60. Book Burning at Freiburg “On November 7, 1522, an edict was issued from Nuremburg in which preaching in the reformed sense was outlawed. “All books containing such ideas were banned. “This edict found an immediate response in Freiburg. The council ordered it read in every guild. “Any questionable books were to be brought for examination, and a houseto-house search was to be made. “The result was a public burning of about 2,000 Lutheran books in the Freiburg Munsterplatz, including Bibles. Snyder, 53-54
  61. 61. 1523 Country Preachers In March the Freiburg City Council told the Austrian government that a local country preacher “Instructs the ignorant common people everywhere from the standpoint of the Lutheran doctrine, causing disobedience and Bundschuh offenses.” “A month later, the Council volunteered that the preacher had been active in and around Freiburg some years before, that he practiced medicine, and that despite their efforts, they had not been able to apprehend him. “The impact of such undercover evangelists on the Breisgau countryside is difficult to assess, but it is clear that itinerant preachers like this one were able to move freely among the common people.“ Snyder, 54
  62. 62. Anti-Clericalism A 1523 pamphlet accused the clergy of straying “by becoming monks, nuns, and pastors, wearing habits and tonsures, and screaming day and night in church at matins, prime, terse, vespers, and compline.”
  63. 63. Anti-Clericalism A 1523 pamphlet accused the clergy of straying “by becoming monks, nuns, and pastors, wearing habits and tonsures, and screaming day and night in church at matins, prime, terse, vespers, and compline.” Duke William IV of Bavaria said the common people in his area openly declare “They wish to kill all the priests, saying that in these days the priests behave so un-priestlike that it would be impossible and against the Christian faith to tolerate them any longer.” Brady, 18, 293
  64. 64. Zurich In June Zwingli preached his famous sermon, stating that “So long as the Council demands payment of the tithe, it is the civil duty of the Christian to pay it.” “He received full support from the Zürich clergy, while the country preachers Reublin, Stumpf, and the young Zürich radicals Conrad Grebel and Felix Mantz opposed him. “The rural pastors had radicalized Grebel and Mantz, and by the October disputation the Zwinglian reformation‟s division had become a public matter.” Snyder, 68
  65. 65. Zurich In June Zwingli preached his famous sermon, stating that “So long as the Council demands payment of the tithe, it is the civil duty of the Christian to pay it.” “He received full support from the Zürich clergy, while the country preachers Reublin, Stumpf, and the young Zürich radicals Conrad Grebel and Felix Mantz opposed him. “The rural pastors had radicalized Grebel and Mantz, and by the October disputation the Zwinglian reformation‟s division had become a public matter.” Snyder, 68
  66. 66. Zurich In June Zwingli preached his famous sermon, stating that “So long as the Council demands payment of the tithe, it is the civil duty of the Christian to pay it.” “He received full support from the Zürich clergy, while the country preachers Reublin, Stumpf, and the young Zürich radicals Conrad Grebel and Felix Mantz opposed him. “The rural pastors had radicalized Grebel and Mantz, and by the October disputation the Zwinglian reformation‟s division had become a public matter.” Snyder, 68
  67. 67. 1524 The Revolution Begins Michael Sattler found himself in a veritable hurricane of events that were far beyond anyone‟s ability to control—and equally beyond the ability of anyone at the time to understand. Forced by the civil war that was emerging he was forced to take a stand. He had three options:
  68. 68. 1524 The Revolution Begins Michael Sattler found himself in a veritable hurricane of events that were far beyond anyone‟s ability to control—and equally beyond the ability of anyone at the time to understand. Forced by the civil war that was emerging he was forced to take a stand. He had three options:  To join the ruling class against the working class, as his abbot had.
  69. 69. 1524 The Revolution Begins Michael Sattler found himself in a veritable hurricane of events that were far beyond anyone‟s ability to control—and equally beyond the ability of anyone at the time to understand. Forced by the civil war that was emerging he was forced to take a stand. He had three options:  To join the ruling class against the working class, as his abbot had.  To accept the peasants‟ demands, which would have alienated the rest of his struggling monastic community.
  70. 70. 1524 The Revolution Begins Michael Sattler found himself in a veritable hurricane of events that were far beyond anyone‟s ability to control—and equally beyond the ability of anyone at the time to understand. Forced by the civil war that was emerging he was forced to take a stand. He had three options:  To join the ruling class against the working class, as his abbot had.  To accept the peasants‟ demands, which would have alienated the rest of his struggling monastic community.  To find some new political relationship which both parties to the conflict could accept.
  71. 71. The Twelve Articles This proposal coalesced German peasant aspirations into a national movement when it was published in March 1525. It‟s origins are still unclear. My hypothesis is that it was composed by Sattler in 1524.
  72. 72. The Twelve Articles This proposal coalesced German peasant aspirations into a national movement when it was published in March 1525. It‟s origins are still unclear. My hypothesis is that it was composed by Sattler in 1524. Whoever wrote it was educated, thought clearly and in a way characteristic of persons familiar with legal matters, and who was attempting to find a way to avoid civil war through negotiation.
  73. 73. The Twelve Articles This proposal coalesced German peasant aspirations into a national movement when it was published in March 1525. It‟s origins are still unclear. My hypothesis is that it was composed by Sattler in 1524. Whoever wrote it was educated, thought clearly and in a way characteristic of persons familiar with legal matters, and who was attempting to find a way to avoid civil war through negotiation. Whoever that person was he was also deeply formed by the scriptures, and by the belief that they required social justice.
  74. 74. Failure In December when the tenants of the adjacent monasteries of St. Blaisen and St. Trudpert plundered St. Trudert‟s—a few km from Staufen—it was clear a negotiated settlement was not possible.
  75. 75. Failure In December when the tenants of the adjacent monasteries of St. Blaisen and St. Trudpert plundered St. Trudert‟s—a few km from Staufen—it was clear a negotiated settlement was not possible.
  76. 76. What was happening in the Breisgau was happening everywhere in southern Germany as the year 1524 came to an end. On Christmas Day the pastor of Our Lady‟s Church in Memmingen reported, “As I went to the altar a great murmur arose from the Lutheran women and men, who drove me into the sacristy with great violence and there reviled and scolded me with their fists and with many words of abuse, beat me about the head and shoulders, pelted me with stones, tore out the window panes, and took the candles.” The attack lasted two hours, and “if Mayor Keller and six town councilors had not arrived, I would have been struck dead.”
  77. 77. What was happening in the Breisgau was happening everywhere in southern Germany as the year 1524 came to an end. On Christmas Day the pastor of Our Lady‟s Church in Memmingen reported, “As I went to the altar a great murmur arose from the Lutheran women and men, who drove me into the sacristy with great violence and there reviled and scolded me with their fists and with many words of abuse, beat me about the head and shoulders, pelted me with stones, tore out the window panes, and took the candles.” The attack lasted two hours, and “if Mayor Keller and six town councilors had not arrived, I would have been struck dead.”
  78. 78. The 1525 Revolt “In the summer of 1524 an anti-seigneurial revolt erupted in the southern Black Forest. “Over the following winter and into the spring revolution spread into the Upper Rhine, Swabia and Franconia, and thence northward into Hesse and Thuringia and southeastward to the borders of Hungary.” Brady, 186
  79. 79. “Over this zone armies of rebels formed, the largest counting perhaps 10,000 to 12,000 fighters. “They swore oaths, unfurled banners, armed themselves, called on burgers and miners to join them, and were determined to teach the nobles and clergy the justice of their demands. “By Easter 1525 perhaps 300,000 rebels lay under arms.” Brady, 186
  80. 80. “Over this zone armies of rebels formed, the largest counting perhaps 10,000 to 12,000 fighters. “They swore oaths, unfurled banners, armed themselves, called on burgers and miners to join them, and were determined to teach the nobles and clergy the justice of their demands. “By Easter 1525 perhaps 300,000 rebels lay under arms.” Brady, 186
  81. 81. “By the high summer most of their formations had either been defeated in battle, dispersed without major fighting, or pacified through negotiations. “About a third of the rebels—130,000 by a contemporary estimate, somewhat fewer by modern ones—were shot, cut down, blasted, skewered, smashed, hanged, or tortured to death.” Brady, 186
  82. 82. “By the high summer most of their formations had either been defeated in battle, dispersed without major fighting, or pacified through negotiations. “About a third of the rebels—130,000 by a contemporary estimate, somewhat fewer by modern ones—were shot, cut down, blasted, skewered, smashed, hanged, or tortured to death.” Brady, 186
  83. 83. Valerius Anshelm reported that in the Black Forest “The lords, having gained their victory, became more ungracious and unjust than before.” The peasants were stripped “of their armor and weapons, their fine clothing, berets, and leather shoes, prohibited from visiting inns on pain of life and property,” and each household was fined six gulden “under threat of fire and pillage.” Many, he reports, “came out shorn like sheep,” and even the innocent and those who had opposed the rebels “were secretly and publicly shorn and butchered.” Brady, 200-01
  84. 84. Switching Sides  On March 25, 1525, a „brother Michael‟ wearing a „white coat‟, appears at a trial of Zurich-area Anabaptist leaders. He is a nonresident, and so rather than being jailed is forced to abjure all Anabaptist beliefs, to swear never to return to Zurich, and is then expelled.
  85. 85. Switching Sides  On March 25, 1525, a „brother Michael‟ wearing a „white coat‟, appears at a trial of Zurich-area Anabaptist leaders. He is a nonresident, and so rather than being jailed is forced to abjure all Anabaptist beliefs, to swear never to return to Zurich, and is then expelled.  In early November 1525 the Zurich authorities demand all adherents of Anabaptist beliefs appear for a public three-day debate.
  86. 86. Switching Sides  On March 25, 1525, a „brother Michael‟ wearing a „white coat‟, appears at a trial of Zurich-area Anabaptist leaders. He is a nonresident, and so rather than being jailed is forced to abjure all Anabaptist beliefs, to swear never to return to Zurich, and is then expelled.  In early November 1525 the Zurich authorities demand all adherents of Anabaptist beliefs appear for a public three-day debate.  This is followed on November 18 by a trial, which orders the Anabaptist leaders to be imprisoned. However “Michael Sattler from Staufen in the Breisgau is to be released, upon the swearing of an oath of loyalty and the payment of costs.”
  87. 87. To Oberglatt Michael Sattler was expelled from Zürich in November, together with two country preachers. It is likely they traveled north to Oberglatt.
  88. 88. To Oberglatt Michael Sattler was expelled from Zürich in November, together with two country preachers. It is likely they traveled north to Oberglatt. Hans Kuenzi, a weaver who lived in Oberglatt, wrote some time after May 21, 1526: “A person came to me who had been a monk, and who urged me to teach him to work, for he wished to eat bread from his own hands. This is the same Michael who had earlier been your prisoner. “This Michael has conducted himself at all times in a quiet manner, and has not dealt with baptism, and also is not re-baptized. “At my suggestion he once went with my brother, on account of a young woman, where he was asked to read to the group, and where there was quite a crowd present.” Snyder, 83, 85
  89. 89. Becoming a Weaver “When we join Michael Sattler at his weaver‟s loom in Hans Kuenzi's house, and consider the events which he pondered, we see that he continued to hold to the peasant critique of his monastic estate, and that he continued to accept their democratic teaching on community. “However he rejected their violence and the entire project of reforming society at large according to the scriptural pattern. “There can be no reform of society or „the world‟, for it is ruled by Satan—as the recent mutual slaughter had amply demonstrated.” Snyder, 201-02
  90. 90. Becoming a Weaver “When we join Michael Sattler at his weaver‟s loom in Hans Kuenzi's house, and consider the events which he pondered, we see that he continued to hold to the peasant critique of his monastic estate, and that he continued to accept their democratic teaching on community. “However he rejected their violence and the entire project of reforming society at large according to the scriptural pattern. “There can be no reform of society or „the world‟, for it is ruled by Satan—as the recent mutual slaughter had amply demonstrated.” Snyder, 201-02
  91. 91. Margaretha The official charges at their trial name “Margaretha, the wife of Michael Sattler from Staufen.” Valerius Anshelm tells us she had been a Beguine, and that she was a “refined and comely little woman”. Possibly she was the Margaretha in Aarau to whom a letter was written in 1525. There was a Beguine house in Aarau which was still in existence in 1509. “The word Beguine was used loosely in the 16th century. It could indicate actual Beguines, but also Beghards, and even Franciscan Tertiaries. “A common function of the Beguines was that of serving as „Marthas‟ (domestic labor) in the local monasteries.” Snyder, 101; n.57, 219
  92. 92. Margaretha The official charges at their trial name “Margaretha, the wife of Michael Sattler from Staufen.” Valerius Anshelm tells us she had been a Beguine, and that she was a “refined and comely little woman”. Possibly she was the Margaretha in Aarau to whom a letter was written in 1525. There was a Beguine house in Aarau which was still in existence in 1509. “The word Beguine was used loosely in the 16th century. It could indicate actual Beguines, but also Beghards, and even Franciscan Tertiaries. “A common function of the Beguines was that of serving as „Marthas‟ (domestic labor) in the local monasteries.” Snyder, 101; n.57, 219
  93. 93. Margaretha The official charges at their trial name “Margaretha, the wife of Michael Sattler from Staufen.” Valerius Anshelm tells us she had been a Beguine, and that she was a “refined and comely little woman”. Possibly she was the Margaretha in Aarau to whom a letter was written in 1525. There was a Beguine house in Aarau which was still in existence in 1509. “The word Beguine was used loosely in the 16th century. It could indicate actual Beguines, but also Beghards, and even Franciscan Tertiaries. “A common function of the Beguines was that of serving as „Marthas‟ (domestic labor) in the local monasteries.” Snyder, 101; n.57, 219
  94. 94. 1526 Anabaptist Pastor Sometime in the summer of 1526 Sattler crossed the boundary between sympathizer and leader. His first recorded action was to travel to Strasburg where his former teacher Capito was now a leader of the reformation there. Several Anabaptists had been imprisoned in Strasburg and Sattler successfully plead for their release, apparently on the basis of religious liberty. From Strasburg he crossed the Rhine and took up pastoral responsibility for the small evangelical community in Horb.
  95. 95. 1526 Anabaptist Pastor Sometime in the summer of 1526 Sattler crossed the boundary between sympathizer and leader. “More than a full year went by before his acceptance of the heavy cross of adult baptism. His first recorded action was to travel to Strasburg where his former teacher Capito was now a leader of the reformation there. “When he finally did accept a rebaptism, not only was his commitment total and unconditional, but the Anabaptism to which he committed himself was something newly defined in both religious and socioeconomic terms.” Several Anabaptists had been imprisoned in Strasburg and Sattler successfully plead for their release, apparently on the basis of religious liberty. From Strasburg he crossed the Rhine and took up pastoral responsibility for the small evangelical community in Horb. Snyder, 198
  96. 96. 1527 Schleitheim and Martyrdom  When Sattler accepted leadership in the infant Anabaptist community in the last half of 1526, he set out to provide this disorganized and disparate movement with a structure able to survive on-going persecution. The result was the Schleitheim Confession, which required non-violence for lay evangelicals, and which has sustained the Amish and Mennonite communities to the present.
  97. 97. 1527 Schleitheim and Martyrdom  When Sattler accepted leadership in the infant Anabaptist community in the last half of 1526, he set out to provide this disorganized and disparate movement with a structure able to survive on-going persecution. The result was the Schleitheim Confession, which required non-violence for lay evangelicals, and which has sustained the Amish and Mennonite communities to the present.  Three months later he would be burned at the stake by the Habsburg government, but his martyrdom would provide a permanent witness to his commitment to non-violence, one that would have far-reaching impact.
  98. 98. “That in the course of a meeting men could change their opinions and come to unity, is not only a striking rarity in the history of the Reformation, it is also the most important event in the whole history of Anabaptism. “Had it not happened, the Anabaptism of Grebel, Blaurock, and Mantz would have died out, together with its founders. “But now it has taken on a viable form and was in a position to resist the licentiousness of the fanatics, the coercion of Christian governments, and the persuasiveness of the preachers.” — John Howard Yoder, The Legacy of Michael Sattler
  99. 99. Burned at the Stake
  100. 100. The New Community In the five centuries after Michael and Margaretha Sattler‟s deaths the vision they died for has been lived out by communities of other Christians willing to die rather than inflict death on others.
  101. 101. The New Community In the five centuries after Michael and Margaretha Sattler‟s deaths the vision they died for has been lived out by communities of other Christians willing to die rather than inflict death on others. Those communities are increasingly recognized as models for the future.
  102. 102. The New Community
  103. 103. It is no longer difficult to convince Christians we should be non-violent. The difficult thing now is to convince them it is possible. The peacemaker‟s task now is not telling others what we should do, but providing examples of what we can do. And 500 years of Amish and Mennonite life, lived in communities formed by Michael Sattler‟s leadership and example, provides the most convincing answer possible to that challenge.
  104. 104. Was Michael Sattler a Heretic? It is certain that Michael Sattler left his Benedictine monastery some time in 1525. Whether he left voluntarily we do not know. It is clear that his political views and those of his abbot had diverged substantially. It is also clear that Michael Sattler did not leave behind his Benedictine formation. The evidence indicates that Sattler took the Benedictine tradition with him when he transferred his obedience to a lay community. Did this action make him a heretic? Or did it make him a missionary? Did he leave the Catholic faith or was he an early martyr witness to the principles of social justice, so badly being disregarded in the medieval era? Praying the Psalms each day for years on end leaves an indelible impact. How can monastic communities join in praying Psalm 82 without being moved by the power of the poetry? How long will you judge unjustly, and favor the cause of the wicked? Do justice for the weak and the orphan; Defend the afflicted and the needy. Rescue the weak and the poor; Set them free from the hand of the wicked. This forces us to ask whether Sattler would not have been a heretic to have remained in leadership in a monastic community that was systematically involved in injustice—injustice that above all affected the poorest of the poor?

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