This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book examines the history of the Netherlandic Mennonite community living in and around Hamburg after the Thirty Years War. Based on detailed archival research, it expands the scope of Radical Reformation studies to include the confessional age (c. 1550-1750). During this period, Mennonites had to conform politically while trying to preserve many of the nonconformist ideals of their forebears, such as the refusal to baptize children, bear arms and swear solemn oaths. Mennonites, who today are found around the world, are the best known subgroup of Anabaptists. The book shows that studies of Anabaptist communities belong within and contribute to the mainstream of historiographical discussions. It also examines the behaviour of individual believers with regard to such central Mennonite issues as nonresistance, oath-swearing and marriage in the community of faith.