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Thomas Müntzer

early Reformation-era German pastor who was a rebel leader during the German Peasants' War
The people will be free and God alone will be their Lord.
Our lords and princes ... make all creatures their property—the fish in the water, the bird in the air, the plant in the earth must all be theirs. Then they proclaim God's commandments among the poor and say, "You shall not steal."

Thomas Müntzer (ca. 1489 – 27 May 1525) was a German preacher and theologian of the early Reformation whose opposition to both Luther and the established Catholic church led to his open defiance of feudal authority in central Germany. Müntzer was foremost amongst those reformers who took issue with Luther’s compromises with feudal authority. He became a leader of the German peasant and plebeian uprising of 1525, was captured after the battle of Frankenhausen, and was tortured and executed.

QuotesEdit

  • The league at Allstedt wanted to establish this principle, Omnia sunt communia, ‘All property should be held in common’ and should be distributed to each according to his needs, as the occasion required. Any prince, count, or lord who did not want to do this, after first being warned about it, should be beheaded or hanged.
    • in Revelation and Revolution: Basic Writings of Thomas Müntzer (1993), p. 200

Highly Provoked Defense (1524)Edit

Hochverursachte Schutzrede Full text online
  • Das Volk wird frei werden, und Gott will allein der Herr darüber sein!
  • The people will be free and God alone will be their Lord.
  • as cited in The German Peasants' War and Anabaptist Community of Goods, p. 109
  • Sieh zu, die Grundsuppe des Wuchers, der Dieberei und Räuberei sein unser Herrn und Fürsten, nehmen alle Kreaturen zum Eigentum: die Fisch im Wasser, die Vögel in der Luft, das Gewächs auf Erden muß alles ihr sein (Jes. 5). Darüber lassen sie dann Gottes Gebot ausgehen unter die Armen und sprechen: »Gott hat geboten: Du sollst nicht stehlen.«
  • The stinking puddle from which usury, thievery and robbery arises is our lords and princes. They make all creatures their property—the fish in the water, the bird in the air, the plant in the earth must all be theirs. Then they proclaim God's commandments among the poor and say, "You shall not steal." They oppress everyone, the poor peasant, the craftsman are skinned and scraped.
  • Highly Provoked Defense (1524), as cited in Transforming Faith Communities: A Comparative Study of Radical Christianity, p. 173

Exposure of False Faith (1524)Edit

Ausgedrückte Entblößung des falschen Glaubens Full text online
  • Our learned ones would gladly like to give the witness of Jesus' spirit a higher education. They will completely fail in this because they are not educated enough to teach so that through their teachings the common man may be brought up to their level. Rather, the learned ones alone want to pass judgment on the faith with their stolen Scripture, although they are totally and completely without faith, either before God or before men. For everyone perceives and realizes that they strive for honours and worldly goods. Therefore, you, the common man, must become learned yourself, so that you will be misled no longer. The same spirit of Christ will help you in this which will mock our learned ones to their destruction.
    • "Exposure of False Faith" (1524), in Revelation and Revolution: Basic Writings of Thomas Müntzer (1993), p. 116
  • Es ist der Natur ein unleidlichs Werk, die Furcht Gottes zum Anfang des Glaubens zu machen.
  • The fear of God at the beginning of faith is an unbearable thing to human nature.
  • "Exposure of False Faith" (1524), in Revelation and Revolution: Basic Writings of Thomas Müntzer (1993), p. 117

Wu Ming Presents Thomas Müntzer, Sermon to the PrincesEdit

  • The clergy have never been able to discover, nor will they ever, the beneficial tribulations and useful abyss that the providential spirit meets as it empties itself.
    • "A Protest about the Condition of the Bohemians"
  • Freely and boldly I declare that I have never heard a single donkey-cunt doctor of theology, in the smallest of his divisions and points, even whisper, to say nothing of speaking loudly, and points, even whisper, to say nothing of speaking loudly, about the order (established in God and all his creatures).
    • "A Protest about the Condition of the Bohemians"
  • Thomas Müntzer will not pray to a dumb God, but rather to ones who speaks.
    • "A Protest about the Condition of the Bohemians"
  • God speaks only in the suffering of creatures, a suffering that the hearts of the unbelievers do not have because they become more and more hardened.
    • "A Protest about the Condition of the Bohemians," p. 5
  • The spirit of the strength and fear of God be with you , you pitiable community. After the libelous writing [of Luther] have made you partly fearful - and also most impudent - it is exceedingly necessary for me to counter the rising evil with a demonstration of Christian mastery. At the present time, this mastery cannot be shown except through an exposition of holy Scripture, especially the teachings of the spirit of Christ, and through a comprehensive comparison of all the secrets and judgement of God. For all knowledge contains within itself its diametrical opposite.
    • "Special Exposure of False Faith" (1524)
  • Oh, dearest brothers, of what else does this Gospel of Luke remind us? Only that faith with all its sources, presents us with impossible things, which the tender ones believe will never come to pass in reality. The whole insane, fantastic world sets and the world says with a little forked tongue: 'Yes, one can indeed preach the Gospel, fear God alone, and yet also hold in honour the unreasonable rulers, even though they strive against all justic and do not accept God's word. Oh, for God's sake, one should be obedient to them in all things, those Good Junkers.' Yes welcome, you [i.e. Martin Luther ] defender of the godless! How fine, how very fine it must be to be so able to serve with praise two masters who strive against one another, as the advisers of the rulers truly do! Oh, how skillful clever reason thinks it is! In its hypocrisy, it uses love of neighbor to dress up and ornament itself in the most imposing manner.
    • "Special Exposure of False Faith" (1524)
  • Man must smash to bits his stolen, contrived Christian faith through powerful, enormous suffering of the heart, through an amazement that cannot be rejected. Through this, man becomes very small and despicable in his own eyes.
    • "Special Exposure of False Faith" (1524)
  • God despises the powerful and the mighty, the likes of Herod, Caiaphas, and Annas, and he accepts for his service the small, like Mary, Zechariah, and Elizabeth. For that is God's way of working , and down to the present day he does not act otherwise.
    • "Special Exposure of False Faith" (1524)

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