382. No Lord but God: the Peasants’ War and Radical Reformation

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Faced with massive political upheaval and the rise of the Anabaptists, Luther argues for a socially conservative version of the Reformation.



Further Reading

P. Matheson (ed. and trans.), Collected Letters and Writings of Thomas Müntzer (Edinburgh: 1988).

• M.G. Baylor (ed. and trans.), The Radical Reformation (Cambridge: 1991).


• M.G. Baylor, The German Reformation and the Peasants’ War: a Brief History with Documents (Boston: 2012).

• P. Blickle, The Revolution of 1525 (Baltimore: 1981).

• W.D.J. Cargill Thompson, The Political Thought of Martin Luther (Brighton: 1984).

• R.N. Crossley, Luther and the Peasants’ War: Luther’s Actions and Reactions (New York: 1974).

• J. Estes, Peace, Order and the Glory of God: Secular Authority and the Church in the Thought of Luther and Melanchthon 1518–1559 (Leiden: 2005).

• G. Franz, Der deutsche Bauernkrieg 1525 (Berlin: 1926).

• R. Keen, Divine and Human Authority in Reformation Thought: German Theologians on Political Order 1520-1555 (Nieuwkoop: 1997).

• H. Kirchner, Luther and the Peasants’ War, trans. D. Jodock (Philadelphia: 1972).

• Q. Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Volume 2: The Age of Reformation (Cambridge: 1978).

• J.M. Stayer, The German Peasants’ War and Anabaptist Community of Goods (Montreal: 1991).

• G. Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: 1962).


Michael on 25 October 2021


I'm surprised you choose to take a position. I'm not interested in joining your religion, dude.

In reply to by Michael

Peter Adamson on 26 October 2021


Out of curiosity, which side do you think I am on? (And of what issue?) Do you mean, that I expressed sympathy for the peasant uprising? Or because I'm somewhat critical of the Reformers for refusing to follow through on the social implications of their movement?

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Jane on 20 November 2021

What a strange criticism…

What a strange criticism from Michael. I think you presented everything perfectly reasonable. Commenting on medieval social inequality is not the same as pushing a modern political/religious agenda surely. Been listening for five years, keep up the good work!

In reply to by Jane

Peter Adamson on 20 November 2021


Thanks so much! To be honest I am still curious what sort of bias I was being accused of there. I found it odd too, like, are there people who look back and say "boy those peasants they really deserved what was coming to them"? I guess we may never know what he meant!

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