Historiography: France

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No adequate treatment of the history of Anabaptism or Mennonitism in France had been published by the mid-20th century, and the French Mennonites have produced no thorough historians. Pierre Sommer (1874-1952), long a leader in the French Conference, did more than anyone else to gather and publish historical materials. (See Pages choisies de Pierre Sommer précédées d'une Esquisse Biographique, 1955, pp. 143). With Valentin Pelsy he published Precis d'Histoire des Eglises Mennonites (1914, new ed. 1937, pp. 162), but the section "Les Mennonites en France" contains only nine pages (119-128). His most extensive work was done in a historical series in Christ Seul, which he founded in 1907 (preliminary publication 1901-1907), published 1930-1933 in 49 articles with separate historical sketches of all existing and extinct Mennonite congregations in France. His successor as editor of Christ Seul, Pierre Widmer, was also historically active, having published Almanach Cinquantenaire (1901-1951), with much historical material. Pierre Sommer also contributed numerous articles to the Mennonitisches Lexicon including the one on France. C. Henry Smith, John Horsch, and Anna Brons have little on the history of the French Mennonites in their general volumes.

The history of Anabaptism in Alsace has been treated in all the general works on Anabaptism, and also in monographs, the best of which is A. Hulshof, Geschiedenis van de Doopsgezinden te Straatsburg van 1525 tot 7557 (1905, pp. 262). Louis Hauth, Les Anabaptistes à Strasbourg au Temps de la Reformation (1860, pp. 34), although a Strasbourg dissertation (B.Th.), is unimportant. Much more valuable is the work of T. W. Röhrich, "Zur Geschichte der Strassburgischen Wiedertäufer in den Jahren 1527 bis 1534," in Zeitschrift für historische Theologie (1860, 3-121), and particularly Camill Gerbert, Geschichte der Strassburger Sectenbewegung . , . 1524-1534 (1889, pp. 200). See also X. Mosemann, Les Anabaptistes á Colmar 1534-35. Robert Kreider, "The Anabaptists and the Civil Authorities of Strasbourg 1525-1555" in Church History (1955, 99-118) has much to contribute, as does Christian Neff's article Martin Bucer (Mennonite Encyclopedia I, 455-460).

On the Mennonites of France after 1700 see Les soirées Helvetiennes, Alsaciennes, et Fran-Comtoises (1772), A. Michiels, Les Anabaptistes des Vosges (1860, pp. 333), and Charles Mathiot, Recherches historiques sur les Anabaptistes de l'Ancienne Principauté de Montbéliard, d'Alsace et des Regions voisines (1922, pp. 158). "Anabaptistes" in these titles refers to modern Mennonites, since the latter term had not come into general use in the French language until recently. Correll's Das schweizerische Täufermennonitentum (1925) has a strong section on the modern French Mennonites, "Die Täuferemigranten im Elsass, in Baden und der Kurpfalz (der 'elsässische' und 'pfälzische' Mennonit im besonderen)" pp. 75-135, with special emphasis on the sociological and agricultural aspects. Paul Leuillot,"Les Anabaptistes Alsaciens Sous le Second Empire d'après une Enquête Administrative de 1850" in Journal d'Alsace LXXXVII (1947) 207-211, calls attention to a valuable governmental report. P. Marthelot, "Les Mennonites dans L'Est de la France" in Revue de Géographie Alpine XXXVIII (1950), 475-491, is a useful socio-geographic account of the Mennonites in Alsace and Lorraine, emphasizing their agricultural contribution.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Historiography: France." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 15 May 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historiography:_France&oldid=82089.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1956). Historiography: France. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 May 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historiography:_France&oldid=82089.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 758. All rights reserved.

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