206: RED CHRISTIANS #23: Jan van Leiden

“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, the totally original Christian/Atheist blog. It is my personal polemic, the place where I muse aloud about religion and life. I hope you get something out of it!” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.

Some contemporary left Christians are a tad ashamed of this guy, or at least embarasssed by him.
van Leiden was a sixteenth century journeyman-tailor cum actor who brought a posse of followers from the Netherlands into Germany at the time of the Peasants Revolt. The great Thomas Müntzer had already been dead 10 years, but other Anabaptists were willing to risk their necks to set up God’s kingdom in the face of the Catholic Princes’ superior fire power. (See Zingcreed Post on The Peasants of Swabia)

van Leiden sey up a “Davidic kingdom” in the besieged stronghold of Munster. In his “royal court” he practiced polygamy with a harem of 16 concubines, plus a “Queen” who was the widow of his predecessor. He was King David – what fun! The whole town practiced a form of communism, which meant they shared everything like the apostles in the Acts chapters 2 and 4 (the world’s first real recorded communists, 2000 years before Karl Marx – he got the idea from them!) Perhaps God did not smile on this attempt to establish ‘his’ kingdom on earth, because it didn’t last for very long!
They were starved into submission, and betrayed from within too. When the German Princes’ mercenaries broke in in June 1535 Jan van Leyden was captured and he was  torn apart by red hot tongs in font of a crowd in the cathedral square. Ah, Christians did treat each other well in those days! (Joke)
It might be said that Jan van Leiden entertained the crowds right up to the very end!

Sources:

Blissett, Luther “Q”

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