Subversive Historian – 05/27/09

The Execution of Thomas Muntzer

Back in the day on May 27th, 1525 German religious reformer and theologian Thomas Muntzer was beheaded. Originally attracted to the Protestant Reformation as articulated by Martin Luther, Muntzer, however, came to reject it as insufficiently radical. In contrast to Lutheran principles, Munzter believed that prophetic inspiration came not from scripture alone, and politicized his theology to conclude that the peasantry must rise to overthrow the upper classes. Because of his radical teachings, Muntzer eventually was exiled to Prague, but returned in time to become a leader in the Peasants’ War starting in 1524. In the course of the rebellion he was able to establish a theocracy based on the principle of common ownership of property. Leading thousands of peasants in Frankenhausen, Muntzer and his movement were defeated after an ensuing battle.

Suffering through arrest and torture, Muntzer was put to death for his heretical belief of “Omnia sunt communia” or “all things are common.”

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