Troy Osborne

Dean, Associate Professor of History, Conrad Grebel University College


Headshot of Troy Osborne smiling

Troy Osborne is a historian whose research and teaching interests center generally on Mennonite history and the Reformation, particularly on the development of the Dutch Anabaptist tradition. His research uses discipline records and political appeals to trace the development of a Mennonite identity within the Dutch Republic and one that extended transnationally across Europe. A professor of History and Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, he teaches courses on the sixteenth-century Reformations, the Radical Reformation, Mennonite Studies, and an introductory survey of European History.


  • A.A. Hesston College, 1991
  • B.A. Goshen College, 1994
  • M.A. Associated Mennonite Seminary, 1998
  • PhD University of Minnesota, 2007

Research and teaching interests

  • Early modern European religious and cultural history
  • The Dutch Republic
  • Mennonite history

Courses taught

  • HIST 111 Western Civilization II
  • HIST 262 Early Modern Europe 1450-1700
  • HIST 348/RS 344 The Radical Reformation
  • HIST 235/RS 240 History of Christianity
  • HIST 379/RS 343 Reformation History 

Recent publications

  • Radicals and Reformers: A Survey of Global Anabaptist History. Herald Press, 2024.
  • “Whether to Turn to the ‘Strong Hand’ of the State: The Role of the State in Dutch Mennonite Conflict Resolution.” In A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace: Global Mennonite Perspectives on Peacebuilding and Nonviolence, edited by Fernando Enns, Nina Schroeder-van ’t Schip, and Andrés Pacheco-Lozano, 254–65. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2023.
  • “Anabaptists in the Netherlands.” In T&T Clark Handbook of Anabaptism, edited by Brian C. Brewer, 133–50. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.
  • “The Bottle, the Dagger, and the Ring: Church Discipline and Dutch Mennonite Identity in the Seventeenth Century,” The Conrad Grebel Review 35, no. 2 (Spring 2017): 114–50.
  • “Honor and Charity in the Church: Mennonites and the ‘Disciplinary Revolution’ of the Dutch Republic.” In European Mennonites and the Challenge of Modernity over Five Centuries: Contributors, Detractors, and Adapters, edited by Mark Jantzen, Mary S Sprunger, and John D Thiesen, 265–83. North Newton, Kan: Bethel College, 2016.
  • “Mennonites and Violence in Early Modern Amsterdam.” Church History and Religious Culture 95, no. 4 (January 1, 2015): 477–94. 
  • Review of Sex and Drugs before Rock ‘n’ Roll: Youth Culture and Masculinity during Holland’s Golden Age by Benjamin B. Roberts. The Historian 76.4 (December 2014): 878–79.
  • “The Development of a Transnational ‘Mennonite’ Identity among Swiss Brethren and Dutch Doopsgezinden in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” Mennonite Quarterly Review 88, no. 2 (April 2014): 195–218.
  • Review of Ernstige godsvrucht en gezond verstand.  Een selectie uit de dagboeken van Foeke Wigles Gorter (1756-1836), leraar van de Doopsgezinden in Sappemeer edited by Bert Dop and Piet Visser.  Church History and Religious Culture 92.2-3 (2012): 450-452. 
  • Review of Mennonite German Soldiers: Nation, Religion and Family in the Prussian East, 1772-1880 by Mark Jantzen. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press. 2010.  Mennonite Life 66 (Summer 2012). 
  • “Worthy of the Tolerance They’d been Given: Dutch Mennonites, Reputation, and Political Persuasion in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History 99 (2008), 256-279.
  • Review of Faith on the Margins: Catholics and Catholicism in the Dutch Golden Age, Charles H. Parker.  The Historian 72.2 (Summer 2010): 483-484.
  • Review of Eén grote famlie: Doopsgezinde elites in de Friese Zuidwesterhoek 1600-1850, by Cor Trompetter.  Church History and Religious Culture 90.1 (2010): 124-125.
  • Review of “Just as in the Time of the Apostles”: The Uses of History in the Radical Reformation by Geoffrey Dipple. The Mennonite Quarterly Review 83.4 (October 2009): 641-643.

Selected activities

  • “Mennonites turn to Luther.” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Milwaukee, WI, October 28, 2017.
  • “Mennonites Remember the Martyrs” Remembering the Reformation Conference, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University, September 9, 2017.
  • “The Bottle, the Dagger, and the Ring: Church Discipline and Dutch-Mennonite Identity in the Seventeenth Century." Benjamin Eby Lecture, March 31, 2016.
  • “Shunning as a Form of Early Modern Exile” Workshop presentation at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Vancouver, BC: October 24, 2015
  • “Mennonite Memories of the Dutch Revolt.” Paper presented at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 16, 2014.
  • “Mennonites and Varieties of Violence in the Dutch Republic”  Paper presented at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico:   October 26, 2013.
  • “Dissenting across borders:  the Development of a transnational ‘Mennonite’ identity among Swiss Brethren and Dutch Doopsgezinden in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”  Paper presented at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Fort Worth, Texas:   October 29, 2011.
  • “Church Discipline and State Infrastructure.”  Paper presented  at the conference “Marginal or Mainstream? Anabaptists, Mennonites and Modernity in European Society” held at Bethel College June 25-26, 2010.
  • “The “pillar” of Mennonite Discipline and Social Control in Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam” paper presented at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 26, 2007.
  • Invited response to Gerald J. Biesecker-Mast, “The Future of Radical Reformation Research,” at Future Directions in Anabaptist-Mennonite Scholarship: Mennonite Historical Library Centennial Conference, Goshen, Indiana, May 5, 2006.
  • “Saints into Citizens: Dutch Mennonites, Church Discipline, and Religious Toleration” paper presented at Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Toronto, Ontario, October 29, 2004

Awards and achievements

  • Netherlands America Foundation–Fulbright Fellowship for doctoral research in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2002-2003

Contact information