The Anabaptists in Muenster (1534/35) - Law and Constitution of a chiliastic theocracy -
In 1534/5 a radical branch of the Reformation, the Anabaptists, succeeded in claiming rule over the city of Muenster and to keep the established religious factions, including the more moderate wings of the Reformation, away from power. In the course of their 16-months rule they tried to implant their theological approaches into nearly every aspect of live. To this end they, among other means, created a new communal law.
The temporal and spatial restrictions of the Anabaptists´ rule allow for a closer look on the interdependence of law and religion in a radicalised microcosm. The article is intended to grant an overview of the law of Muenster from 1534 to 1535, and to set it before its theological and historical backdrop. Further, it shall be attempted to reveal some of the structures underlying Anabaptist rule, as they are reflected by the laws of the Muensterite community. By doing this, a twofold continuity begins to take shape: Despite an increasing theocratization and in spite of the legal changes, the pre-anabaptist communal elites retain a great influence on communal events, which is especially reflected in the distribution of the different city offices and their holders. Besides that, a continuity in the forms of communicating power is detectable, which employ the well-known symbols of power of its time.
The Anabaptists in Muenster (1534/35) - Law and Constitution of a chiliastic theocracy - (12. August 2004), in forum historiae iuris, http://www.forhistiur.de/2004-08-fischer/