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Mennonites in Early Modern Poland and Prussia

, 280 pages

38 halftones, 4 line drawings, 4 maps

August 2010



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Mennonites in Early Modern Poland and Prussia

At a time when religious conflicts and persecution plagued early modern Europe, Poland and Prussia were havens for Mennonites and other religious minorities. Noted Anabaptist scholar Peter J. Klassen examines this extraordinary example of religious tolerance.

Through extensive archival research in Poland, Germany, and the Netherlands, Klassen unearths rich material that has rarely, if ever, been studied previously. He demonstrates how the interaction of religious, political, and economic factors created a situation in Poland and Prussia that permitted a diversity of religious beliefs and practices.

Mennonites in Early Modern Poland and Prussia focuses on the large Mennonite community in these countries. Klassen reveals how the Anabaptist groups were treated and explores whether the uncommon religious freedom they enjoyed gave rise to a flourishing of their faith or a falling away from its central tenets.

Early modern Poland and Prussia are virtually ignored in most studies of the Reformation. Klassen brings them to light and life by focusing on an unusual oasis of tolerance in the midst of a Europe convulsed by the wars of religion.

Peter J. Klassen is professor emeritus of history at California State University, Fresno, and the author of Europe in the Reformation, A Homeland for Strangers: An Introduction to Mennonites in Poland and Prussia, and The Reformation: Change and Stability.

"Klassen's narrative makes an important contribution to the study of religion."

"Worthwhile book."

"A significant contribution to Mennonite history."

"Pete Klassen has made a valuable contribution to Mennonite historiography, and this book should be read by anyone interested in understanding the history of the Mennonites in Poland and Prussia."

"Klassen's narrative makes an important contribution to the study of religion, especially for the reader interested in the lives of minority religious groups within contexts of religious pluralism."

"An excellent and much-needed work."

"Makes a strong contribution to Mennonite studies, largely by making much scholarship available in English for the first time and... by adding new insights from the archival research included."

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