Summary: Through rhetorical criticism of Anabaptist confessional argument during the Reformation era, the book describes the relationship between separation and peace articulated by Anabaptist leaders and writers in the decades following the adoption of the Schleitheim Brotherly Union in 1527. By exploring this rhetoric of peaceable Anabaptist persuasion, the book provides resources for all nonconformists who seek to make peace through spiritual practice and public argument. Includes extensive notes, bibliography, and index.
Comment: "The author deftly
applies a postmodern rhetorical analysis to illumine how
early Anabaptists eloquently and strategically
articulated the struggle for both separation and
toleration to support a radical Christian posture.
To the fascinating history and
theology of the Anabaptist tradition, Biesecker-Mast
brings new tools of rhetorical analysis and postmodern
theory. The result is a rich study that shows how
evocatively Reformation debates resonate for contemporary
political and religious life.
How can Christians accept an
ordering role for government while opposing the abuses of
state violence? Biesecker-Mast analyzes this tension in
early Anabaptist rhetoric and practice. His book is
especially timely for Christians seeking to offer a
faithful witness to Gods reign in a post-9/11
Anyone interested in Anabaptist
perspectives on peace will appreciate
Biesecker-Masts ability to recognize in Anabaptist
confessional texts what has been neglected by
This book is a delight to read and a first-rate example of what contemporary scholarship on Anabaptists can accomplish. Highly recommended. Thomas Heilke, Associate Dean of International Programs, Professor, Political Science, University of Kansas
Separation and the Sword in
Anabaptist Persuasion inaugurates a new epoch in
Anabaptist studies. For one thing, it brings a new
disciplinethat of rhetorical analysisto the
study of Anabaptist texts. Rather than seeing texts as
static entities of distilled truth, rhetorical analysis
treats texts as living statements that function as
strategic assertions in a context whose contours are not
fixed. A series of significant results follow from the
application of this discipline new to Anabaptist
Market: Scholars, historians, pastors, church leaders; anyone interested in an insightful study, through the prisms of rhetorical and historical analysisinto the writings of early Anabaptists and what can be learned from them considering Anabaptist separation and engagement.
Shelving: Anabaptistshistory, doctrine; Historyof Reformation and sixteenth-century Europe; Nonresistance, Pacifism; Rhetoric and Society. BISAC: History, Religion. RTM: 431 History/World; 690 Religion/Ethics.
The Author: Gerald Biesecker-Mast, Bluffton, Ohio, is Associate Professor of Communication at Bluffton University and the author of numerous published essays dealing with religion and persuasion. He is co-editor with Susan Biesecker-Mast of Anabaptists and Postmodernity (2000), and with J. Denny Weaver of Teaching Peace: Nonviolence and the Liberal Arts (2003). Biesecker-Mast is a graduate of Malone College, Canton, Ohio, and received his Ph.D. in rhetoric and communication from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995.
Publishing House (the new name of Pandora Press U.S.)
Separation and the Sword orders:
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