Brüderliche Vereinigung zwischen uns und etlichen Brüdern am Rheinstrom
Brüderliche Vereinigung zwischen uns und etlichen Brüdern am Rheinstrom, a Hutterite tract of 1556-1557, written by the Hutterite missionary brother Hansel Schmid or Raiffer who was then working in the area of Kreuznach (Palatinate) and Aachen (Lower Rhine province). It exists in two handwritten books, now in the Primatial library of Esztergom, Hungary, in form of an appendix to the otherwise well-known Sendbrief by Andreas Ehrenpreis of 1652. Its significance lies in its statement of the fundamental doctrinal and practical points in which the Hutterites distinguish themselves from the Swiss Brethren who lived in that area. The tract consists of two parts, (1) the negotiations in Kreuznach with a brother Lorenz Huef and his fellow Swiss brethren, in 1556, with whom seven points were discussed, and (2) similar negotiations in Aachen in 1557 with the Swiss brother Hans Arbeiter, discussing not less than 17 points of doctrine and practical distinctions. Hansel Schmid, always an effective missionary worker of the Hutterites, could win both groups for his brotherhood, only to be caught himself finally by the authorities of Aachen and to suffer martyrdom for his faith's sake in 1558. The tract says expressly that the brethren in Kreuznach demanded a written statement concerning the seven points with all Scriptural references, which was also done, whereupon the statement was read before the entire congregation of the Swiss Brethren. This is apparently the document which forms the major part of the pamphlet at hand. Schmid drew it up himself out of his intimate knowledge of Hutterite teaching. The seven points discussed concern: marriage, taxes for war (Blutgeld), separation from other groups who claim to be brethren, support of ministers and deacons for their secular needs, "idol worship" (meaning the Catholic Mass), the buying of houses in Moravia, and finally, who should move to Moravia. The 17 points of the Aachen Gespräch (for which no Scriptural references are presented—perhaps because no written statement was asked for) deal with much more central issues, such as original sin, incarnation of Christ, community of goods, ban, etc.
The text is preserved in full in the two codices IX and XI of Beck's description (Geschichts-Bücher) from which Beck prints only the main parts without the doctrinal details (225-229). The larger chronicle (ed. Zieglschmid) contains the full text (359-367, and 384) including the Scriptural references. It represents a complete copy of the original tract. The Ehrenpreis epistle, finally, our prime source, was published by the Hutterian Brethren in 1920 (Scottdale, PA) from a manuscript preserved by the Hutterites in South Dakota, and here again one finds the complete text of the tract on pages 155-183. In this Sendbrief, to which Ehrenpreis himself had apparently appended this doctrinal statement from a now lost original, this otherwise unnamed tract is given the heading (in Beck, 225) Brüderliche Vereinigung etc., reminiscent of the similar title of the oldest doctrinal statement of the Anabaptists, the Brüderlich Vereinigung etlicher Kinder Gottes of Schleitheim, 1527.
The document is very significant for its discussion of relations between the various Anabaptist groups.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.
Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit. Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 448. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Friedmann, Robert. "Brüderliche Vereinigung zwischen uns und etlichen Brüdern am Rheinstrom." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B78560.html.
APA style: Friedmann, Robert. (1953). Brüderliche Vereinigung zwischen uns und etlichen Brüdern am Rheinstrom. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B78560.html.