By Beth Langstaff
At the end of May, we were very pleased to be able to welcome Daniel and Sarah Smith here on their first visit to Tübingen. Daniel is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Saint Louis University; at present, he is a Humboldt Fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. He read a paper at the New Testament Colloquium, "On Appeals to an Imperfect Past in a Present Future: Reflections on the Israelite Wilderness in the Late Second Temple Period,” exploring the intriguing ways in which biblical traditions about the Israelites in the wilderness were read and interpreted by authors such as Josephus and Paul and in texts such as I Maccabees and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
THE RADICALS OF THE REFORMATION
Here in Germany, the Reformation is front-page news throughout this "Luther Year" (the 500th anniversary of Luther's 95 Theses), but the Reformation is all too often considered only within the categories of "Protestants" and "Catholics." (Those of you who have lived here in Germany are probably familiar with the typical choice of "Konfession" provided on German forms: you are expected to be either "evangelisch" or "katholisch.") In the second half of the semester, the Theological German class is reading and discussing the "Radicals" of the Reformation, such as Michael Sattler, one of the so-called "Anabaptists" who rejected infant baptism and began to practice believer's baptism – and who were, as a result, persecuted and executed by Protestants and Catholics alike. In 1527, Michael Sattler and his wife Margarethe were arrested in the town of Horb and put on trial by the Catholic authorities in Rottenburg (ten minutes away from Tübingen); both of them were executed. Here is their memorial in Rottenburg; the last line reads (translated into English), "They died for their faith."