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THOMAS MUNTZER: SERMON TO THE PRINCES WITH PREFACE AND ANNOTATIONS BY ALBERTO TOSCANO ed. Wu Ming translated by Michael G. Baylor

April 28, 2017

TMSTTPThomas Muntzer, originally Luther’s protege, became increasingly convinced that the Reformation did not go far enough. In 1524, he became one of the leaders of the Peasants’ War where the struggle against the Church exploded into a revolutionary attempt to realize the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Wu Ming, the five Italian authors who, under the name of Luther Blissett, wrote the best selling novel “Q” about the Radical Reformation, ask why Muntzer has inspired radicals for almost 500 years.

In the “Sermon To The Princes” Muntzer uses Biblical imagery to attack the greed and institutional corruption of the oligarchs, even more fiercely than the corruption and abuse of the Vatican. Even in his “Confession” Muntzer lays out ideas for social organizing in a ways we would later see in the socialist, anarchist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Long before the 1871 Paris Commune, Muntzer and the German peasants were already attempting to dissolve the old state and replace it with a communal order based on social equality.

One very fascinating element in Muntzer’s writings is his idea concerning the worldly state and a higher, general moral set of laws. Muntzer believed that the laws and states established by the Vatican or the monarchies which ruled over Europe were obsolete, and irrelevant, in comparison to the revolutionary, spiritual, moral codes or laws of God and the people.

Unlike today’s fundamentalists, he did not take Scripture literally.

He follows tradition in calling Mary the ‘mother of God’ but does not believe that the unworthiness of the minister hindereth not the effect of the sacrament.

He refers to books in the Apocrypha, e.g. Wisdom, though only quotes Protestant scripture.

Even I was shocked by his foul language.

 Quotations:

Freely and boldly I declare that I have never heard a single donkey-cunt doctor of theology, in the smallest of his divisions and points, even whisper, to say nothing of speaking loudly, about the order (established in God and all his creatures). The most prominent among the Christians (I mean the hell-based parsons) have never had even a whiff of the whole or undivided perfection, which is a uniform measure superior to all parts

In my view it is not without reason that all other peoples call our faith monkey business. For it is evident and cannot be denied that unbelievers have demanded a serious accounting from us. And we have returned an answer from a chicken coop — with immense pride we have spattered great books full, saying, ‘We have written this and that in our laws; for if Christ said this, Paul has written that; the prophets have foretold this and that; holy mother church (a madam in a whorehouse) has proclaimed this and that.’ Indeed, the Nero-like, ‘holy,’ most wooden pope and chamber pot at the brothel of Rome has commanded this and that great thing, defending them with the ban of excommunica­tion. And in the opinion of the little straw doctors of theology, for the sake of the conscience this ban is not to be despised.

Zechariah did not want to believe the word of the angel Gabriel [Lk. 1:11-19], and he reproached Gabriel because what he said was impossible. Mary, the bearer of our saviour, who is therefore praised by the children’s children, is also most worthy of consideration [Lk. 1:48]. She wanted to have good reasons and supporting information [for believing what the angel said]. Zechariah and Mary did not attain their faith, as the insane world now believes, in a rosy way. They did not merely go on and say, ‘Yes, I will simply believe that God will make everything all right.’ With such an easy source of belief, the drunken world concocts a poisonous faith, which is much worse than that of the Turks, heathen, and Jews. But Mary and Zechariah were terrified in the fear of God, until the faith of a mustard seed [Mt. 17:20 and Lk. 17:6] conquered their unbelief’ This process is experienced with great trembling and affliction.

In short, it cannot be otherwise. Man must smash to bits his stolen, contrived Christian faith through powerful, enormous suffering of the heart, through painful grief, and through an amazement that cannot be rejected. Through this, man becomes very small and despicable in his own eyes. The elect sink down while the godless arm themselves and mightily puff themselves up. Then the elect can raise God up and make him mighty, and, after experiencing heartfelt grief, the elect can rejoice from their whole heart in God, their saviour. Then the mighty ones must give way to the small people and be ruined by the small.

Oh, if the poor rejected peasants knew this, it would be most useful to them.

Therefore, they poison holy Scripture for the holy spirit. One hears at various times that they walk along the right path. But that does not last long. None of them can improve himself, for their teaching is stolen, Jeremiah 23[:30]. In this way no one finds access to his heart.

They think that no one may be a Christian unless he accept their literalistic faith.

the literalistic rogues are the leading cause of every evil, and nevertheless they still want to justify the whole world

They held to Scripture without the spirit of Scripture, as the god­less ones down to the present day are accustomed to do.

It available online here

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