Anabaptist Studies

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

After Christendom: The Series

The Anabaptist Network, in partnership with Paternoster, is producing a series of books exploring the meaning and significance of the demise of Christendom in western culture. The first two books, written by Stuart Murray, are Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World and Church after Christendom. The next book in the series will be launched on 1 July 2006 and is titled: Faith and Politics after Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy - it is written by Jonathan Bartley. My dear friends Alan and Eleanor Kreider, Mennonites based in Elkhart, Indiana but who were in the UK for many years, are writing the volume after that: Mission and Worship after Christendom. I am planning to write Reading the Bible after Christendom for the series.

John Lyons says nice things about me!

John, on his Weblog, has mentioned my paper on an Anabaptist reading of 2 Tim 3:12 informed by Martyrs Mirror which was given at SBL in Philadelphia in November. He has said very nice things about it for which I am extremely grateful!

Here is the abstract of the paper:

2 Timothy 3:12 and ‘the Ideal of Good Christian Citizenship’: An Anabaptist Perspective

Martin Dibelius famously described the Pastoral Epistles as being concerned to promote “the ideal of good Christian citizenship” (christliche Bürgerlichkeit). Yet this description fails to take adequate account of the rhetorical force of 2 Tim 3:12, a text which receives very little attention in the Dibelius and Conzelmann Hermeneia commentary on the Pastorals. Indeed most commentators pay scant attention to this particular verse. By way of contrast, the 17th century Anabaptist text, Martyrs Mirror, contains 25 references to this verse and a further three to 2 Tim 3:12-13. This proved a significant passage for Anabaptists facing persecution in the 16th and 17th centuries. This paper argues that modern commentators on the Pastoral Epistles have consistently interpreted them through the lens of Christendom – an interpretative stance that fails to do adequate justice to the precarious nature of Christian communities in the first and second centuries. Far from promoting a form of Christianity at ease with the authorities, this paper suggests, in the light of Anabaptist experience, that the Pastorals are concerned with appropriate Christian communal praxis in the light of the real threat of persecution of a group at the margins of society.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Some personal details

I am a New Testament scholar and am currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol. My PhD was in the Pastoral Epistles and has subsequently been published as The Polemic of the Pastorals: A Sociological Examination of the Development of Pauline Christianity (JSNTSup 264; London: T & T Clark International, 2004). I serve on the Steering Committee of the Anabaptist Network, teach on Workshop and am also Course Director of Advanced Workshop (

Anabaptist resources on the web

Well this is my first proper post! There are a number of important sites for all things Anabaptist. Here in the UK I would mention the following:
  1. The Anabaptist Network at
  2. The London Mennonite Centre at
  3. Workshop - this is an excellent study course operating in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London and Manchester -

In addition there is the Anabaptist-Mennonite Scholars Network at

A good resource for finding Mennonite and Amish links on the web is