Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Martyrs Mirror
Cover image of Martyrs Mirror
Share this Title:

Martyrs Mirror

A Social History

David L. Weaver-Zercher

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

The first scholarly history of the iconic Anabaptist text.

Approximately 2,500 Anabaptists were martyred in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe. Their surviving brethren compiled stories of those who suffered and died for the faith into martyr books. The most historically and culturally significant of these, The Bloody Theater—more commonly known as Martyrs Mirror—was assembled by the Dutch Mennonite minister Thieleman van Braght and published in 1660. Today, next to the Bible, it is the single most important text to Anabaptists—Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites. In some Anabaptist…

The first scholarly history of the iconic Anabaptist text.

Approximately 2,500 Anabaptists were martyred in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe. Their surviving brethren compiled stories of those who suffered and died for the faith into martyr books. The most historically and culturally significant of these, The Bloody Theater—more commonly known as Martyrs Mirror—was assembled by the Dutch Mennonite minister Thieleman van Braght and published in 1660. Today, next to the Bible, it is the single most important text to Anabaptists—Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites. In some Anabaptist communities, it is passed to new generations as a wedding or graduation gift.

David L. Weaver-Zercher combines the fascinating history of Martyrs Mirror with a detailed analysis of Anabaptist life, religion, and martyrdom. He traces the publication, use, and dissemination of this key martyrology across nearly four centuries and explains why it holds sacred status in contemporary Amish and Mennonite households. Even today, the words and deeds of these martyred Christians are referenced in sermons, Sunday school lessons, and history books.

Weaver-Zercher argues that Martyrs Mirror was designed to teach believers how to live a proper Christian life. In van Braght’s view, accounts of the martyrs helped to remind readers of the things that mattered, thus inspiring them to greater faithfulness. Martyrs Mirror remains a tool of revival, offering new life to the communities and people who read it by revitalizing Anabaptist ideals and values. Meticulously researched and illustrated with sketches from early publications of Martyrs Mirror, Weaver-Zercher’s ambitious history weaves together the existing scholarship on this iconic text in an accessible and engaging way.

Jump to
Quick Add
Martyrs Mirror

David L. Weaver-Zercher

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Pacifists in Chains
Pacifists in Chains

Duane C. S. Stoltzfus

$35.00
Quick Add
Pacifists in Chains

Duane C. S. Stoltzfus

Publication Date
Binding Type
New release
Cover image of Fooling with the Amish
Fooling with the Amish

Dirk Eitzen

$44.95
Quick Add
Fooling with the Amish

Dirk Eitzen

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Mennonite Farmers
Mennonite Farmers

Royden Loewen

$52.00
Quick Add
Mennonite Farmers

Royden Loewen

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The Lives of Amish Women
The Lives of Amish Women

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner

$49.95
Quick Add
The Lives of Amish Women

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Nature and the Environment in Amish Life
Nature and the Environment in Amish Life

David L. McConnell and Marilyn D. Loveless

$52.00
Quick Add
Nature and the Environment in Amish Life

David L. McConnell and Marilyn D. Loveless

Publication Date
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

Expansive and thought-provoking...The book's percipient and fascinating analysis of the origins of anabaptism in Europe, including Mennonite and Amish sects, highlights sectarian differences within the Protestant Reformation and how questions of political power shaped and sustained those differences...Martyrs Mirror: A Social History is a significant entry in religious scholarship that deepens our understanding of anabaptism and Christianity in general.

Required reading for those interested in religious history.

Waever-Zercher is to be congratulated for his contribution to Anabaptist and Mennonite history, but also for his excellent example of work in book culture, in a fashion both enlightening and engaging.

... an enduring classic...

Shows how a single text can take on different meanings, infusing a cultural identity in an increasingly disparate and diasporic global community. The book is richly researched, it marks an ambitious project, and it offers new insight into the very foundation of Mennonite history.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
440
ISBN
9781421418827
Illustration Description
37 halftones
Table of Contents

Preface
Part I
The Prehistory and Production of The Bloody Theater
1. Anabaptism
2. Memorializing Martyrdom before The Bloody Theater
3. Thieleman van Braght and the Publication of The Bloody Theater
4. The

Preface
Part I
The Prehistory and Production of The Bloody Theater
1. Anabaptism
2. Memorializing Martyrdom before The Bloody Theater
3. Thieleman van Braght and the Publication of The Bloody Theater
4. The Bloody Theater
Part II
Van Braght's Martyrology through the Years
5. The Bloody Theater Illustrated
6. A North American Edition
7. Martyrs Mirror in Nineteenth-Century America
8. Martyrs Mirror in Twentieth-Century America
Part III
Contemporary Approaches to Martyrs Mirror
9. Tradition-Minded Anabaptists and the Use of Martyrs Mirror
10. Assimilated Mennonites and the Dilemma of Martyrs Mirror
11. The Most Usable Martyr
12. Going Global
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

David L. Weaver-Zercher

David Weaver-Zercher is an associate professor of American religious history at Messiah College and author of The Amish in the American Imagination, also published by Johns Hopkins.
Resources

Additional Resources