By Cornelius J. Dyck
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He left enough money to support his wife and family. Then he began to study the New Testament, memorizing favorite passages, and reciting them to whoever would listen, also sharing his own interpretation of the passage. He was soon joined by others. The group eventually became known as Waldensians, calling themselves the Poor in Spirit, and asked the Third Lateran Council in 1179 for permission to preach as lay persons. This was denied, but they felt compelled by God to continue nevertheless. Severe persecution followed for almost 700 years; relative freedom was granted them in Italy, where the largest groups came to live, only in 1848.
His Bible was long a favorite with Anabaptists. large numbers in the 1960s and 1970s through the writings of Mennonite and non-Mennonite scholars. Partly through a new interest in social history in general, greater attention was given to social, economic, and political factors in the rise of Anabaptism also. Further studies showed the wide diversity of thought and practice among early Anabaptists, which called for new criteria about the identity of the movement. " This raised other questions about different, multiple origins and influences.
The Reformation would not have been possible without the humanists' recovery of the Scriptures and of biblical scholarship. Their sharp pens goaded the church to act where the actions of the reformers often caused a reaction. The humanists added spiritual depth to the church by stressing the inward and personal dimension of faith, where the reformers were often forced to quarrel over doctrine or external church issues. Yet all of the major reformers had a humanist education and were scholars in their own right.
An Introduction to Mennonite History: A Popular History of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites by Cornelius J. Dyck