Free Radicals podcast Uncategorized Episode 5 – Into Parhelion

Episode 5 – Into Parhelion

After the baptisms in January, 1534, things escalate among the growing crowd of Anabaptists in Münster. Armies are assembled, real and imaginary, a siege is initiated, an election happens, and power shifts in dramatic ways.


  • December 5, 1531 – Jan Volkerts and nine other Amsterdam Anabaptists are executed at the Hague. Melchior Hoffman declared a moratorium on baptisms for two years.
  • January 5, 1534 – Two emissaries of Jan Matthis (Willen De Kuyper and Batholomeus Boekbinder) arrive in Münster and baptize a group of people at the home of Bernhard Knipperdolling (including Bernhard Rothmann)
  • January 13, 1534 – Jan van Leiden and Gerrit Boekbinder arrive in Münster
  • By the end of January, 1534 – Bernhard Rothmann and Henrik Roll baptize roughly 1,400 people in Münster
  • January 30, 1534 – A confrontation between armed citizens of Münster and town council is resolved with promises of religious toleration
  • February 9, 1534 – A rumour circulates that the bishop is raising an army. Town council hides in Uberwasser district and contemplates having the Bishop’s forces interfere. Parhelion (sun dogs) appeared in the sky over Münster. Last minute negotiations preserve order and balance of power.
  • February 23, 1534 – Civic elections in Münster see Anabaptists sweep into power with the defection of most candidates because of rising instability.
  • February 27, 1534 – Anabaptist leaders expel everyone from the city who refuses to accept rebaptism
  • Early March, 1534 – In the public square, Jan van Leiden stabs Herbert Rüscher for saying he and Jan Matthis were possessed by the devil
  • Easter Sunday, April 5, 1534 – Jan Matthis and a few other march out to fight the sieging army, but they are quickly killed as villagers watch helplessly from the wall.

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