Friday, July 25, 2008

Pots and kettles

On Sunday we had Ysette and Brian over for wine tasting. We try to get together with them every month or so and we all bring a bottle or two of wine to the table. This time we did Cabernet, and tasted a bottle from Long Island and one from Paso Robles in California. It was tasty, but not as tasty as the Zinfandel tasting of a couple months earlier.

As we all sat around chatting (or trying to chat over the noise of the kids) Ysette said, "Do you guys know anything about the Anabaptists?"

Ysette is working on her PhD in Spanish literature. "Um, yes", we replied, rather startled. The Anabaptists were a 16th century religious group in Germany, a part of the "Radical Reformation". They were heavily persecuted for their shocking belief in the believer's baptism (that's baptism of consenting adults, essentially. It really was shocking at the time!) and are probably best known (if "best known" is a term that can be applied to Anabaptists) for the Munster Rebellion, where some Anabaptists attempted to install a theocracy in Germany. The town was sieged and eventually taken. The Anabaptist leaders were executed in the public square, and for good measure, their bodies were hung up in cages around the square until they were pretty much just bones. Mmmmm. The Amish, Hutterites and Mennonites are some of their modern descendants.

So you can see why we were surprised. "Can you recommend any good books on them?", Ysette asked.

"Not really", I replied. "That's not something either of us study. If you want to know about Ancient Christianity, US religious history, pop culture, or robots we can help you out, but not so much with medieval and renaissance Europe. Why do you want a book on Anabaptists anyway?"

Ysette grinned guiltily, a person caught in transgression. "I'm procrastinating working on my dissertation", she admitted.

"By reading about Anabaptists??", Robert asked incredulously. He shook his head. "Ysette, that's what World of Warcraft is for!"

2 comments:

Rachel Main said...

I learned about the Munster Rebellion in college. Found all that European stuff fascinating. If I weren't a chef, my dream "job" would be being a Medieval/Renaissance religion/politics expert - like Simon Schama! Those Prussians/Germans sure could shake things up.
Nowadays they like a good leader to follow - they're getting quite smitten with Obama - much better than Angle, that's for sure.
Anyhoo, I'm with Ysette. I'd choose a good book over World of Warcraft anyday.

robert said...

spoken like someone who has never read a real academic book in the history of religions.

you see, a good book might be better than world of warcraft; it's just that the number of good books (defined as, interesting and accessible and entertaining to read...the sort of thing you'd do just for pleasure) in the history of religions is vanishingly small and, in all likelihood, a null set with regards to the anabaptists.

why do you think i study robots?