Radicals and Reformers: A New Anabaptist History Textbook

From renegade gatherings of Christian believers in the 1500s to a global communion of more than 2.1 million members, the Anabaptist-Mennonite movement has been marked by faithfulness and failure, continuity and conflict, radicalism and reformation. Grebel History Professor Troy Osborne was asked by MennoMedia to write a new textbook that draws from recent scholarship on the global church. “I thought that it could be an interesting challenge, and it would also be useful to produce a book I could use in my own courses,” Troy explained. “One of the attractions of the project was working with an advisory group that included professors from a wide variety of Mennonite colleges and universities.” troys book

Set to be released in June 2024, Radicals and Reformers: A Survey of Global Anabaptist History, traces the origins and development of the Anabaptist and Mennonite movements from their beginnings in Europe through their spread across the globe. Troy reflects on the ways that Anabaptists have defined their identity in new settings and in response to new theological, intellectual, geographic, and political contexts. Drawing from current scholarship and a range of written and visual sources, this book provides an overview of how Mennonites from Zurich to Zimbabwe have adapted to or resisted the world around them.

“Anabaptists have always been re-thinking what it means to be part of their movement,” reflected Troy. “Without a centralized hierarchy or shared confession of faith, Anabaptists have spun off into dozens, if not hundreds of directions while (usually) affirming that they were still part of the same historical tradition.” He added, “At the bird’s-eye level, there has rarely been agreement on what binds Anabaptists together, making it very difficult to tell their stories in a unified narrative. The Anabaptist story has become even richer and more complex as the church has grown into a global movement.”

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