The wild doctrines of Thomas Miinzer and the Zwickau prophets, merging eventually into the excesses of the Peasants' War and the doings of the Anabaptists in Minster, first roused Luther to the dangerous possibilities of mysticism as a disintegrating force.
His biographical studies, Franz von Assisi (1856; 2nd ed., 1892), Katerina von Siena (1864; 2nd ed., 1892), Neue Propheten (Di Jungfrau von Orleans, Savonarola, Thomas Miinzer) are judiciou and sympathetic. Other works are: Hutterus redivivus oder Dog matik der evang.-luth.
They were weavers who had been associated with Thomas Miinzer, and like him looked forward to a very radical reform of society.
The more violent leaders, like Miinzer, renewed the old cry that the parsons must be slain.
His appeal to the Scriptures against the traditions of the Church encouraged a more active propaganda on the part of Balthasar Hubmaier, Carlstadt, Miinzer, Johann Denk (d.
Miinzer dreamed of an approaching millennium on earth to be heralded by violence and suffering, but Hubmaier and Denk were peaceful evangelists who believed that man's will was free and that each had within him an inner light which would, if he but followed it, guide him to God.
But it is easy to see that informal preaching to the people at large, especially after the Peasant Revolt, with which Miinzer had been identified, should have led to a general condemnation, under the name " Anabaptist " or " Catabaptist," of the heterogeneous dissenters who agreed in rejecting the State religion and associated a condemnation of infant baptism with schemes for social betterment.
Thomas Miinzer, one of their leaders, was captured in the vicinity and executed in the town.
Miinzer, Beitrage zur Quellenkritik (Berlin, 1897) and Detlefsen, Quellen and Forschungen zur alien Gesch.
Miinzer, in Hermes (1895, and Berlin, 1897); Kalkmann (Berlin, 1898).
When the rebellion was at its height and Thomas Miinzer had sent forth fiery proclamations urging the peasantry "not to let the blood cool on their swords," Luther issued the pamphlet, which casts a stain on his whole life, in which he hounds on the ruling classes to suppress the insurgents with all violence.