chapter  Six
25 Pages

The Non-swearing of Solemn Oaths: Official Accounts versus Everyday Behaviours

Issues of identity and obedience arose for Mennonites not only because of their non-resistant faith. As was also the case with adult baptism and the refusal to bear arms, the non-swearing of oaths had been a radical act in the first generation of the Reformation. Events associated with the trial began in 1655, when Hans Plus sailed to the northern Russian port of Archangel. The Cameral Court in Speyer was one of two high courts in the Empire. The Emperor himself had no direct influence in its operation, because the Court was for the most part funded and controlled by territorial princes. Gambs also rejected the new and more serious charges Kuhorn had introduced in Speyer. Plus was not an Anabaptist but rather a Mennonite. Unlike Anabaptists, Mennonites were Christians. Constant escalation characterizes Plus's trials in the Hamburg and Speyer.