Luther and the Great German Peasants’ War of 1525
I just finished posting the first chapter of a book that I was writing on Luther and the Great German Peasants’ War of 1525. It is about 100 pages double-spaced in courier font. The wordpress font makes it about three quarters as long. I guess because of its size wordpress put it right into its category, Luther and the subcategory, the Peasants’ War, on the right of my blog.
I had to get the manuscript from little sections contained in 5 and 1/4 inch floppies. Where I thought a paragraph was missing, it turned out 40 pages were missing. But it was a labor of love. I have many more manuscripts that I never published. The next one I hope to get into my blog is Luther and the Niebuhr Brothers, again in relation to the position he took against the Peasants’ War. That is also a long chapter.
I had hoped to go to graduate school and start publishing my work, but after another six years of studying Luther and the Peasants’ War, I had to change my thesis to Luther and pamphlet studies. When I investigated what I thought was a legalistic ethos of his time, I was surprised to discover that there were actually two ecclesiastical court systems, the old arch-deaconal court and the newer episcopal courts besides all of the civil courts. Luther’s burning the canon law on Dec. 10, 1520 was incredibly revolutionary. The manuscript I just posted was my last writing before leaving for graduate school.
If only the German peasants could have known about a non-violent approach, they may have brought their regime down, the way the Egyptians just did. As it was, the murderous feudal transitioning to territorial structure of governance killed an estimated 100,000 peasants in that war that was no war but a massacre of peasants. Many an evangelical pastor sided with the peasants and had to stretch his neck out on the chopping block as well. I think that this underside of the Reformation is well worth remembering.