Constitutive Non/Violence: The Anabaptist Ban on the Threshold of Life and Death

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic


In this short paper, I undertake an initial reading of the Anabaptist ban in conversation with contemporary philosophy.
I start with a brief overview of the practice but mostly also the text prescribing this practice that I am looking at for this paper, by Balthasar Hubmaier. Then I trace the immanent logic of what Hubmaier is describing, which seems pretty straightforward, but on closer inspection shows itself to be beset by ambiguities. Though the ban is where the church restages its constitutive separation from the world, in this act it also dislocates this separation. The ban, as a sanction, sits at a sort of quasi-biopolitical threshold – particularly in terms of the regulation and division certain types of life.

History of Christianity Unit and Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions Unit and Religion in Europe Unit
Theme: 500 Years after Luther’s Excommunication
Monday, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM (In Person)
Convention Center-205
Constance Furey, Indiana University, Presiding
In 1521, Pope Leo X formalized Martin Luther's excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, a religious schism that was followed quickly by political disruption throughout the Holy Roman Empire. This panel commemorates the 500th anniversary of the most politically consequential acts of religious expulsion in European history, attempting both to shed new historical light on the early modern period and to bring its religious ideas into conversation with contemporary political theology. Connecting the magisterial and the radical wings of the Protestant Reformation, the papers examine the proximate causes of Luther's excommunication, the legacy of the event in German politics, and the social logic of ecclesiological exclusion.

Marius van Hoogstraten, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: Constitutive Non/Violence: The Anabaptist Ban on the Threshold of Life and Death
Tapio Leinonen, University of Helsinki: The Early Years after the Excommunication: Luther’s Influence on Prussian Leadership
James Kroemer, Concordia University, Wisconsin: The Excommunication of Martin Luther: Pope Leo’s Attempt to Salvage a Crusade against the Turks
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventAmerican Academy of Religion Annual Meeting - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: 20 Nov 202123 Nov 2021


ConferenceAmerican Academy of Religion Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleAAR 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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