The Russian Mennonites are a group of Mennonites who are descendants of Dutch Anabaptists who settled for about 250 years in West Prussia and established colonies in the south west of the Russian Empire beginning in 1789. Since the late 19th century, many of them have come to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere; the rest were forcibly relocated, so that few of their descendants now live at the location of the original colonies. Russian Mennonites are traditionally multilingual with Plautdietsch as their first language and lingua franca. In 2014 there are several hundred thousand Russian Mennonites: about 200,000 in Germany, 100,000 in Mexico, 70,000 in Bolivia, 40,000 in Paraguay, 10,000 in Belize and tens of thousands in Canada and the US and a few thousand in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil; the term "Russian Mennonite" refers to the country where they resided before their immigration to the Americas and not to their ethnic heritage. In the early-to-mid 16th century, Mennonites began to flee to the Vistula delta region in order to avoid persecution in the Low Countries Friesland and Flanders, seeking religious freedom and exemption from military service.
They replaced their Dutch and Frisian languages with the Low German language spoken in the area, blending into it elements of their native tongues to create a distinct dialect known as Plautdietsch. Today Plautdietsch is the distinct Mennonite language which developed over a period of 300 years in the Vistula delta region and south Russia; the Mennonites of Dutch origin were joined by Mennonites from other parts of Europe, including the German-speaking parts of what is now Switzerland. Some Poles became Mennonites and were assimilated into the Vistula delta Mennonites. In 1772, most of the West-Prussian Mennonites' land in the Vistula area became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in the first of the Partitions of Poland. Frederick William II of Prussia ascended the throne in 1786 and imposed heavy fees on the Mennonites in exchange for continued military exemption. Catherine the Great of Russia issued a manifesto in 1763 inviting all Europeans to come and settle various pieces of land within New Russia in the Volga River region.
For a variety of reasons, Germans responded to this in large numbers. Mennonites from the Vistula delta region of Prussia sent delegates to negotiate an extension of this manifesto and, in 1789, Crown Prince Paul signed a new agreement with them; the Mennonite migration to Russia from Prussia was led by Johann Bartsch. Their settlement territory was northwest of the Sea of Azov, had just been acquired from the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War, 1768–1774. Many of the Mennonites in Prussia accepted this invitation, establishing Chortitza on the Dnieper River as their first colony in 1789. A second larger colony, was founded in 1803. Mennonites lived alongside Nogais—semi-nomadic pastoralists—in the Molochna region of southern Ukraine starting from 1803, when Mennonites first arrived, until 1860, when the Nogai Tatars departed. Mennonites provided agricultural jobs to rented pasture from them. Nogai raids on Mennonite herds were a constant problem in the first two decades of settlement. Two Mennonite settlements on the Vistula near Warsaw, Deutsch-Kazun and Deutsch-Wymysle, came under Russian control when the border was readjusted at the Congress of Vienna.
Some of these families emigrated to the Molotschna settlement. Deutsch-Michalin near Machnovka was founded in 1787. Many families from this settlement moved to nearby Volhynia in 1802. Swiss Mennonites of Amish descent from Galicia settled near Dubno, Volhynia province in 1815. Other Galician Mennonites lived near Lviv; when the Prussian government eliminated exemption from military service on religious grounds, the remaining Mennonites were eager to emigrate to Russia. They were offered land along the Volga River in Samara and exemption from military service for twenty years, after which they could pay a special exemption tax. Two settlements and Alt-Samara, were founded in 1853 and 1861 respectively. By 1870 about 9000 individuals had immigrated to Russia to the Chortitza and Molotschna settlements which, with population increase, numbered about 45,000. Forty daughter colonies were established by 1914, occupying nearly 12,000 square kilometres, with a total population of 100,000; the colonists formed villages of fifteen to each with 70 ha of land.
The settlements retained a common granary for use by the poor in lean years. Income from communal property provided funding for large projects, such as forming daughter colonies for the growing population. Insurance was organized separately and outside of the control of the Russian government; the settlers raised cattle and general crops to provide for their household. The barren steppes were much drier than their Vistula delta homeland and it took years to work out the proper dry-land farming practices, they grew mulberries for the silk industry, produced honey and tobacco, marketed fruits and vegetables for city markets. By the 1830s wheat became the dominant crop. Expanding population and the associated pressure for more farmland became a problem by 1860; the terms of the settlement agreement prevented farms from being divided. Since agriculture was the main economic activity, an expanding class of discontented, landless poor arose, their problems tended to be ignored by the village assembly.
By the early 1860s the
The Ausbund is the oldest Anabaptist hymnal and one of the oldest Christian song books in continuous use. It is used today by North American Amish congregations; the core of the Ausbund is based on fifty-one songs written by Anabaptists from Bavaria. Eleven of these songs were written by Michael Schneider. Twelve others may have been written by Hans Betz; the hymns were composed in the dungeon of Passau Castle, where the Anabaptists were imprisoned between 1535 and 1540 because of their convictions. Some—among them Hans Betz—did not survive the imprisonment. Many of these imprisoned Anabaptists were martyred; the collection was printed in 1564. A copy of this first printing is found at the Mennonite Historical Library of Goshen College, bearing the title Etliche schöne christliche Gesäng wie dieselbigen zu Passau von den Schweizer Brüdern in der Gefenknus im Schloss durch göttliche Gnade gedicht und gesungen warden. Ps. 139. The printed hymnal must have been circulated. By the Frankenthaler Colloquiums it was used as a source of criticism by opponents of Anabaptism.
Another edition of the hymnal with eighty more songs appeared in 1583. This is the first edition: Ausbund. Das ist etliche schöne christenliche Lieder, etc. Allen und jeden Christen, welcher Religion sie seien, unpartheyisch nützlich. Editions included 137 and 140 songs. In all there are eleven known European editions of the Ausbund. In the 16th and 17th centuries the hymnals were published in the Rhineland. In the 18th and 19th centuries new editions appeared in Basel und Strasbourg; the last European edition was printed in Basel in 1838. The first American Ausbund was printed at Christopher Saur's Germantown press. Mennonite Bishop Henry Funck was the publisher of this hymnal, used until the end of the 18th century by the Swiss Mennonite churches, it was replaced by Die kleine geistliche Harfe and Unpartheyisches Gesangbuch of 1804, both from Pennsylvania. The Ausbund is now used in Amish worship, preserving the unique spirit of the 17th-century Anabaptists. A number of the hymns have been translated into English both in book reference form and set to music as found in the Christian Hymnary where it is used in many Conservative Mennonite worship services.
The oldest songs from the Ausbund are about the suffering church in a hostile environment. At the center stand those serious Christians who are prepared to die for their faith, they reflect not only grief and despair, but the understanding of God's presence. There are always more reasons to thank God. Among others, song number 131, O Gott, wir loben dich und deine Güte preisen wir, today is sung at beginning of each Amish worship service; the first song of the Ausbund is from the pen of Sebastian Franck. The song teaches that Christians should sing in spirit and truth and praise God with Psalms; the second song is an adaptation of the Athanasian Creed. Songs 6, 7 and 8 are written by Michael Sattler and Hans Hut, all Anabaptist martyrs. Other martyr songs are by Leonhard Schiemer, Hans Schlaffer, George Blaurock and Hans Leupold, who were among the victims of the first great persecution of Anabaptists. Hans Büchl, participant in the Frankenthaler Colloquiums, is the writer of five Ausbund songs.
Eleven songs are of Dutch origin. The Dutch Anabaptists wrote another eleven songs. Five songs are from the Bohemian Brothers. Many of Ausbund songs have a teaching character: Bible lessons, the Anabaptist views on believers baptism, the Lord's Supper and a focus on eschatology. Songs in this last topic include Büchl's: Ain new christelich Lied von der gegenwardig schröcklichen letzten Dagen, in welchen so vil verschieden secten, auffrührerisch und falsche Propheten erschainen, auch blutdirstige tyrannen; until 1809 the European Ausbund was distributed with no indication of publisher. From 1692 the government of Bern forbade the distribution or possession of this hymnal and ordered its confiscation under threat of severe punishment; the American edition contains the confession of faith of Thomas von Imbroich entitled Wahrhaftigen Bericht über die große Trübsal, die die Geschwister rund um Zürich für ihre Glaubenssache zwischen 1635 und 1645 zu erleiden hatten. From a literary viewpoint the content of the Ausbund is of limited quality, yet witnesses of a deep religious belief and sacrificial devotion of the believers.
The Ausbund contains no notes. According to the research of G. P. Jackson, some melodies came from folk and love songs and others from chorales and hymns; the oldest melodies are from 14th centuries. As with most Christian hymnbooks, the Amish use the Ausbund only in church, their traditional melodies are called "slow tunes", but they put other melodies on the words during singing. Author Joseph Yoder compared the slow tempo of the music as it is sung today to Gregorian Chant, but this was not always the case; the Amish slow tunes of the 20th century are descended from tunes that the original Anabaptists knew. But over time, with neither written notation nor musical instruments to keep the beat, the tunes have slowed down and ornamentation has been added in. Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dirLeonhard Schiemer: Dein heil
Menno Simons was a former Catholic priest from the Friesland region of the Low Countries who became an influential Anabaptist religious leader. Simons was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers and it is from his name that his followers became known as Mennonites. "Menno Simons" is the Dutch version of his name. Menno Simons was born in 1496 in Witmarsum, Holy Roman Empire. Little is known concerning his childhood and family except that he grew up in a poor peasant environment, his father's name was Simon, Simons being a patronym, he had a brother named Pieter. Simons grew up in a disillusioned war-torn country. Friesland was ravaged by war in the late early 16th centuries. Landsknecht soldiers haunted the Frisian lands in the 1490s to force the'Free' Frisians to accept the duke of Saxony-Meissen as their head of state; the duke was the governor of the Netherlands for the Habsburg family. One of the archenemies of the Habsburgs, the Duke of Guelders, invaded Friesland in 1515 and conquered half of it.
Saxony ceded the other half to the Habsburgs. The Frisians tried to regain their freedom but they were too weak and accepted the imperial authority of the Habsburg emperor Charles V. Simons learned Latin and some Greek, he was taught about the Latin Church Fathers during his training to become a priest, he had never read the Bible, either before or during his training for the priesthood, out of fear that he would be adversely influenced by it. When he reflected upon this period in his life, he called himself stupid, he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1516 at Utrecht. He was appointed chaplain in his father's village Pingjum. Around 1526 or 1527, questions surrounding the doctrine of transubstantiation caused Menno Simons to begin a serious and in-depth search of the Holy Scriptures, which he confessed he had not studied being a priest. At this time he arrived at. Menno's first knowledge of the concept of "rebaptism", which he said "sounded strange to me", came in 1531 after hearing of the beheading of Sicke Freerks Snijder at Leeuwarden for being "rebaptized" ["Snijder", meaning "tailor", was not the family name, since Freerks is the patronym form of Freerk and Sicke was, in fact, a tailor by trade).
A renewed search of the scriptures left Menno Simons believing that infant baptism is not in the Bible. He discussed the issue with his pastor, searched the Church Fathers, read the works of Martin Luther and Heinrich Bullinger. While still pondering the issue, he was transferred to Witmarsum. Here he came into direct contact with Anabaptists and practicing "believer's baptism"; some of the Münsterite disciples came there as well. While he regarded them as misled and fanatical, he was drawn to their zeal and their views of the Bible, the Church, discipleship. In 1535, his brother Pieter was among a group of Anabaptists killed near Bolsward because of his participation in the violent takeover of a Catholic monastery known as the Oldeklooster; this monastery, near Bolsward in the Dutch province of Friesland, was seized on 30 March 1535 by about 300 Anabaptists of Friesland, both men and women, led by Jan van Geelen, an emissary of the Anabaptists of Münster. They thereby from here tried to conquer the entire province.
The imperial stadholder Georg Schenck van Toutenburg was put in charge of capturing the old monastery from the Anabaptists. He supposed that he would be able to do so but found himself compelled to conduct a regular siege. On 1 April he tried to storm it. Four times he had to lead his soldiers into the fire. On the third assault they succeeded in taking several positions; some of the fortifications and the church remained in Anabaptist possession. On 7 April the monastery was stormed after a severe battle. 300 Anabaptists were killed. Of the ones who did not lose their lives in the storming, 37 were at once beheaded and 132, both men and women, taken to Leeuwarden, where 55 were executed there after a short trial. Jan van Geelen escaped. After the death of his brother Pieter, Menno experienced a mental crisis, he said he "prayed to God with sighs and tears that He would give to me, a sorrowing sinner, the gift of His grace, create within me a clean heart, graciously through the merits of the crimson blood of Christ, He would graciously forgive my unclean walk and unprofitable life..."
Menno Simons rejected the Catholic Church and the priesthood on 12 January 1536, casting his lot with the Anabaptists. The exact date of his new baptism is unknown, but he was baptized not long after leaving Witmarsum in early 1536. By October 1536 his connection with Anabaptism was well known, because it was in that month that Herman and Gerrit Jans were arrested and charged with having lodged Simons, he was ordained around 1537 by Obbe Philips. Obbe and his brother, Dirk Philips, were among the peaceful disciples of Melchior Hoffman, it was Hoffman who introduced the first self-sustaining Anabaptist congregation in the Netherlands, when he taught and practiced believers' baptism in Emden in East Frisia. Menno Simons rejected the violence advocated by the Münster movement, believing it was not Scriptural, his theology was focused on separation from this world, baptism by repentance symbolized this. For true evangelical faith is of such a nature that it ca
Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. Free will is linked to the concepts of responsibility, guilt and other judgements which apply only to actions that are chosen, it is connected with the concepts of advice, persuasion and prohibition. Traditionally, only actions that are willed are seen as deserving credit or blame. There are numerous different concerns about threats to the possibility of free will, varying by how it is conceived, a matter of some debate; some conceive free will to be the capacity to make choices in which the outcome has not been determined by past events. Determinism suggests that only one course of events is possible, inconsistent with the existence of free will thus conceived; this problem has been identified in ancient Greek philosophy and remains a major focus of philosophical debate. This view that conceives free will to be incompatible with determinism is called incompatibilism and encompasses both metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false and thus free will is at least possible, hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true and thus free will is not possible.
It encompasses hard incompatibilism, which holds not only determinism but its negation to be incompatible with free will and thus free will to be impossible whatever the case may be regarding determinism. In contrast, compatibilists hold; some compatibilists hold that determinism is necessary for free will, arguing that choice involves preference for one course of action over another, requiring a sense of how choices will turn out. Compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarians and hard determinists over free will vs determinism a false dilemma. Different compatibilists offer different definitions of what "free will" means and find different types of constraints to be relevant to the issue. Classical compatibilists considered free will nothing more than freedom of action, considering one free of will if, had one counterfactually wanted to do otherwise, one could have done otherwise without physical impediment. Contemporary compatibilists instead identify free will as a psychological capacity, such as to direct one's behavior in a way responsive to reason, there are still further different conceptions of free will, each with their own concerns, sharing only the common feature of not finding the possibility of determinism a threat to the possibility of free will.
The underlying questions are whether we have control over our actions, if so, what sort of control, to what extent. These questions predate the early Greek stoics, some modern philosophers lament the lack of progress over all these centuries. On one hand, humans have a strong sense of freedom, which leads us to believe that we have free will. On the other hand, an intuitive feeling of free will could be mistaken, it is difficult to reconcile the intuitive evidence that conscious decisions are causally effective with the view that the physical world can be explained to operate by physical law. The conflict between intuitively felt freedom and natural law arises when either causal closure or physical determinism is asserted. With causal closure, no physical event has a cause outside the physical domain, with physical determinism, the future is determined by preceding events; the puzzle of reconciling'free will' with a deterministic universe is known as the problem of free will or sometimes referred to as the dilemma of determinism.
This dilemma leads to a moral dilemma as well: the question of how to assign responsibility for actions if they are caused by past events. Compatibilists maintain. Classical compatibilists have addressed the dilemma of free will by arguing that free will holds as long as we are not externally constrained or coerced. Modern compatibilists make a distinction between freedom of will and freedom of action, that is, separating freedom of choice from the freedom to enact it. Given that humans all experience a sense of free will, some modern compatibilists think it is necessary to accommodate this intuition. Compatibilists associate freedom of will with the ability to make rational decisions. A different approach to the dilemma is that of incompatibilists, that if the world is deterministic our feeling that we are free to choose an action is an illusion. Metaphysical libertarianism is the form of incompatibilism which posits that determinism is false and free will is possible; this view is associated with non-materialist constructions, including both traditional dualism, as well as models supporting more minimal criteria.
Yet with physical indeterminism, arguments have been made against libertarianism in that it is difficult to assign Origination. Free will here is predominantly treated with respect to physical determinism in the strict sense of nomological determinism, although other forms of determinism are relevant to free will. For example and theological determinism challenge metaphysical libertarianism with ideas of destiny and fate, biological and psychological determinism feed the development of compatibilist models. Separate classes of compatibilism and incompatibilism may be formed to represent these. Below are the classic arguments bearing upon its underpinnings. Incompatibilism is the position that free will and determinism are logically incomp
The Mennonites are members of certain Christian groups belonging to the church communities of Anabaptist denominations named after Menno Simons of Friesland. Through his writings, Simons formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders; the early teachings of the Mennonites were founded on the belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus, which the original Anabaptist followers held to with great conviction despite persecution by the various Roman Catholic and Protestant states. An early set of Mennonite beliefs was codified in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith in 1632, but the various groups do not hold to a common confession or creed. Rather than fight, the majority of these followers survived by fleeing to neighboring states where ruling families were tolerant of their belief in believer's baptism. Over the years, Mennonites have become known as one of the historic peace churches because of their commitment to pacifism. In contemporary 21st-century society, Mennonites either are described only as a religious denomination with members of different ethnic origins or as both an ethnic group and a religious denomination.
There is controversy among Mennonites about this issue, with some insisting that they are a religious group while others argue that they form a distinct ethnic group. Historians and sociologists have started to treat Mennonites as an ethno-religious group, while others have begun to challenge that perception. There is a discussion about the term "ethnic Mennonite". Conservative Mennonite groups, who speak Pennsylvania German, Plautdietsch, or Bernese German fit well into the definition of an ethnic group, while more liberal groups and converts in developing countries do not. There are about 2.1 million Anabaptists worldwide as of 2015. Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from "plain people" to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population. Mennonites can be found in communities in at least 87 countries on six continents; the largest populations of Mennonites are to be found in Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and the United States.
There are Mennonite colonies in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and Paraguay Plautdietsch-speaking, who originated in the Netherlands, formed as a distinct ethnic group in Prussia and Ukraine, are called, somewhat inaccurately, Russian Mennonites. Today, fewer than 500 Mennonites remain in Ukraine. A small Mennonite presence, known as the Algemene Doopsgezinde Societeit, still continues in the Netherlands, where Simons was born; the early history of the Mennonites starts with the Anabaptists in the German and Dutch-speaking parts of central Europe. The German term is "Täufer" or "Wiedertäufer"; these forerunners of modern Mennonites were part of the Protestant Reformation, a broad reaction against the practices and theology of the Roman Catholic Church. Its most distinguishing feature is the rejection of infant baptism, an act that had both religious and political meaning since every infant born in western Europe was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Other significant theological views of the Mennonites developed in opposition to Roman Catholic views or to the views of other Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli.
Some of the followers of Zwingli's Reformed church thought that requiring church membership beginning at birth was inconsistent with the New Testament example. They believed that the church should be removed from government, that individuals should join only when willing to publicly acknowledge belief in Jesus and the desire to live in accordance with his teachings. At a small meeting in Zurich on January 21, 1525, Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, along with twelve others, baptized each other; this meeting marks the beginning of the Anabaptist movement. In the spirit of the times, other groups came to be, preaching about reducing hierarchy, relations with the state and sexual license, running from utter abandon to extreme chastity; these movements are together referred to as the "Radical Reformation". Many government and religious leaders, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, considered voluntary church membership to be dangerous—the concern of some deepened by reports of the Münster Rebellion, led by a violent sect of Anabaptists.
They joined forces to fight the movement, using methods such as banishment, burning, drowning or beheading. Despite strong repressive efforts of the state churches, the movement spread around western Europe along the Rhine. Officials killed many of the earliest Anabaptist leaders in an attempt to purge Europe of the new sect. By 1530, most of the founding leaders had been killed for refusing to renounce their beliefs. Many believed that God did not condone killing or the use of force for any reason and were, unwilling to fight for their lives; the non-resistant branches survived by seeking refuge in neutral cities or nations, such as Strasbourg. Their safety was tenuous, as a shift in alliances or an invasion could mean resumed persecution. Other groups of Anabaptists, such as the Batenburgers, were destroyed by their willingness to fight; this played a large part in the evolution of Anabaptist theology. They believed that Jesus taught that any use of force to get back at anyone was wrong, taught to forgive.
In the early days of the Anabapt
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice and observance. It includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs. Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamental human right. In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, does not persecute believers in other faiths. Freedom of belief is different, it allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not allow the right to practice the religion or belief and outwardly in a public manner. Freedom of religion has been used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship has been defined as freedom of individual action. Freedom from religion is a far more pressing moralistic and peaceful solution.
Each of these have existed to varying degrees. While many countries have accepted some form of religious freedom, this has often been limited in practice through punitive taxation, repressive social legislation, political disenfranchisement. Compare examples of individual freedom in Italy or the Muslim tradition of dhimmis "protected individuals" professing an tolerated non-Muslim religion. In Antiquity, a syncretic point of view allowed communities of traders to operate under their own customs; when street mobs of separate quarters clashed in a Hellenistic or Roman city, the issue was perceived to be an infringement of community rights. Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire ca. 550 BC, initiated a general policy of permitting religious freedom throughout the empire, documenting this on the Cyrus Cylinder. Some of the historical exceptions have been in regions where one of the revealed religions has been in a position of power: Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Islam. Others have been where the established order has felt threatened, as shown in the trial of Socrates in 399 BC or where the ruler has been deified, as in Rome, refusal to offer token sacrifice was similar to refusing to take an oath of allegiance.
This was the persecution of early Christian communities. Freedom of religious worship was established in the Buddhist Maurya Empire of ancient India by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC, encapsulated in the Edicts of Ashoka. Greek-Jewish clashes at Cyrene in 73 AD and 117 AD and in Alexandria in 115 AD provide examples of cosmopolitan cities as scenes of tumult; the Romans tolerated most religions, including Judaism and encouraged local subjects to continue worshipping their own gods. They did not however, tolerate Christianity until it was legalised by the Roman emperor Galerius in 311; the Edict of Milan guaranteed freedom of religion in the Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica in 380, which outlawed all religions except Christianity. Following a period of fighting lasting around a hundred years before 620 AD which involved Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Medina, religious freedom for Muslims and pagans was declared by Muhammad in the Constitution of Medina; the Islamic Caliphate guaranteed religious freedom under the conditions that non-Muslim communities accept dhimmi status and their adult males pay the punitive jizya tax instead of the zakat paid by Muslim citizens.
Though Dhimmis were not given the same political rights as Muslims, they did enjoy equality under the laws of property and obligation. Religious pluralism existed in classical Islamic ethics and Sharia, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity and Hinduism, were accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early Caliphate, Al-Andalus, Indian subcontinent, the Ottoman Millet system. In medieval Islamic societies, the qadi could not interfere in the matters of non-Muslims unless the parties voluntarily choose to be judged according to Islamic law, thus the dhimmi communities living in Islamic states had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who would have their own Halakha courts. Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order. Non-Muslims were allowed to engage in religious practices that were forbidden by Islamic law, such as the consumption of alcohol and pork, as well as religious practices which Muslims found repugnant, such as the Zoroastrian practice of incestuous "self-marriage" where a man could marry his mother, sister or daughter.
According to the famous Islamic legal scholar Ibn Qayyim, non-Muslims had the right to engage in such religious practices if it offended Muslims, under the conditions that such cases not be presented to Islamic Sharia courts and that these religious minorities believed that the practice in question is permissible according to their religion. Despite Dhimmis enjoying special statuses under the Caliphates, they were not considered equals, sporadic persecutions of non-Muslim groups did occur in the history of the Caliphates. Ancient Jews fleeing from persecution in their homeland 2,500 years ago settled in India and never faced anti-Semitism. Freedom of religion edicts have been found written during Ashoka the Great's reign in the 3rd century BC. Freedom to practise and propagate any religion is a constitutional right in Modern India. Most major religious festivals of the main communities are included in
Martyrs Mirror or The Bloody Theater, first published in Holland in 1660 in Dutch by Thieleman J. van Braght, documents the stories and testimonies of Christian martyrs Anabaptists. The full title of the book is The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A. D. 1660. The use of the word defenseless in this case refers to the Anabaptist belief in non-resistance; the book includes accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles and the stories of martyrs from previous centuries with beliefs similar to the Anabaptists. Next to the Bible, the Martyrs Mirror has been held as the most significant and prominent place in Amish and Mennonite homes. In 1745, Jacob Gottschalk arranged with the Ephrata Cloister to have them translate the Martyrs Mirror from Dutch into German and to print it; the work took 15 men three years to finish and in 1749, at 1,512 pages, it was the largest book printed in America before the Revolutionary War.
An original volume is on display at the Ephrata Cloister. The 1685 edition of the book is illustrated with 104 copper etchings by Jan Luyken. Thirty-one of these plates survive and are part of the Mirror of the Martyrs exhibit at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. Two of the copper plates are located at the Muddy Creek Farm Library established by Amos B Hoover in Ephrata, PA; the first English edition, translated from German by I. Daniel Rupp, was published by David Miller, Lampeter Square, Pennsylvania, in 1837. An edition entitled A Martyrology of the Churches of Christ was translated and printed in England in 1850 in 2 volumes by Edward Bean Underhill under the auspices of the Handsard Knollys Society in England; the Martyrs Mirror differs from Foxe's Book of Martyrs in that it only includes those martyrs which were considered nonresistant, while Foxe's book does not include many Anabaptist martyrs. The Martyrs Mirror is still a beloved book among Mennonites. While less common now than in the 20th century, in Mennonite homes Martyr's Mirror is a common wedding gift.
Foxe's Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe List of Amish and their descendants Martyrology Full text of Martyrs Mirror The 104 illustrations from the Martyrs Mirror Martyrs Mirror from Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online A scan of the full English translation of Martyrs Mirror at The Internet Archive