Word Made Print: Reformation and the History of the Book

Defining Heresy

No orthodoxy, no heresy: the more sharply doctrine was defined, the more clearly deviance appeared. This story long predated the Reformation, and shaped the formation of evangelical identities. In England, John Foxe linked the history of Christian martyrs to persecutions suffered by his co-religionists under Catholic princes. A subtle shift redefined relations among the Christian churches: the more each defined itself as the “true” church, the more it regarded all competitors as equally deviant. Thus the title page of Ephraim Pagitt’s Heresiography presents all ‘heretics’ – Anabaptists, Familists, Antinomians, Jesuits – as manifestations of one creature, the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just as print made the reformers’ faces renowned, it made the heretics’ portraits notorious. Opened to portrait of Jan van Leiden (1509-1536) who led the Anabaptist takeover of the city of Münster during its final, most apocalyptic phase, in 1535. After the siege that ended his reign, van Leiden was captured, tried, and executed. Jan van Leiden became the archetype of violent and dangerous heresiarch.

Below, A View of All the Religions in the World is opened to portrait of Jan van Leiden (1509-1536) who led the Anabaptist takeover of the city of Münster during its final, most apocalyptic phase, in 1535. After the siege that ended his reign, van Leiden was captured, tried, and executed. Jan van Leiden became the archetype of violent and dangerous heresiarch.

Acts and monuments of matters
Acts and monuments of matters
Heresiography
Heresiography
View of All the Religions in the World
View of All the Religions in the World