Michael Driedger

Faculty of Humanities

Michael Driedger

Rank: Associate Professor
Department: History & Liberal Arts
Ext. 3972
E-mail: mdriedger@brocku.ca

Work currently in progress, or about to be begun, along with indication of when the project is likely to culminate and what form it will take:
I am working on a book about Mennonite revolutionaries in the Netherlands of the late eighteenth century. The popular image of Mennonites is of Christian pacifists shy of all entanglements with the state, an image that many early modern and twentieth-century Mennonite preachers and historians have cultivated. The period I examine, particularly the generation from the 1780s through the 1810s, is a key exception. A striking number of Mennonite preachers and other leading figures were ideologues, militiamen and eventually parliamentarians in the revolutionary democratic cause against the Orange family oligarchy. Many of these individuals contributed a great deal to Dutch and Mennonite culture of their day. However, because their radical politics were an embarrassment to a more conservative generation of Mennonites after the end of the Napoleonic era, their careers and achievements have been largely forgotten. What motivated Mennonites to take up arms against the state and then participate in the revolutionary parliaments of the Batavian Republic? How do they compare to other groups of religious minorities that underwent periods of political radicalization? These are the kinds of questions my archival-based study will examine. I expect the project to take several years.

Work previously undertaken, research achievements or projects completed:
Most of my published research focuses on the intersection of religion and politics in European Mennonite circles from the early sixteenth century through to the era of the French Revolution. In broader terms, my work concerns the long-term consequences of the Reformation, particularly for religious minorities.


Selected publications



· Obedient Heretics: Mennonite Identities in Lutheran Hamburg and Altona during the Confessional Age (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002).

· Zukunft und Koexistenz: 400 Jahre Mennoniten in Hamburg und Altona (Bolanden: Mennonitischer Geschichtsverein, 2001).

Book (co-authored):

· With Willem de Bakker and James Stayer, Bernhard Rothmann and the Reformation in Münster, 1530-35 (Kitchener: Pandora Press, May 2009).


Book (co-edited):

· With Anselm Schubert and Astrid von Schlachta, eds., Grenzen des Täufertums / Boundaries of Anabaptism (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, July 2009).


Selected articles and chapters in books:

· “Competing Visions of the Mennonite Gemeinde: Examples from Early Modern Krefeld in their Dutch Context” in Defining Community in Early Modern Europe, eds. Michael Halvorson and Karen Spierling (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 267-287.

· “Krefelder Mennoniten, die Freimaurerloge ‘Zur vollkommenen Gleichheit’ und die Aufklärung des 18. Jahrhunderts” in Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter 65 (2008), pp. 99-113.

· “‘Een Woord op zyn tyd’: Eine Predigt von Hiddo Wibius van der Ploeg aus dem Jahr 1794,” Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter 64 (2007), pp. 119-130.

· “Spinoza and the Boundary Zones of Religious Interaction,” Conrad Grebel Review 25:3 (2007), pp. 21-28.

· “Anabaptists and the Early Modern State: A Long-Term View” in Companion to Anabaptism and Spiritualism, 1521-1700, eds. John D. Roth and James M. Stayer. (Leiden: Brill, 2006), pp. 507-544.

· “The Intensification of Religious Commitment: Jews, Anabaptists, Radical Reform, and Confessionalization” in Jews, Judaism, and the Reformation in 16th-Century Germany, eds. Dean Phillip Bell and Stephen G. Burnett (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006), pp. 269-299.

· “Anabaptism and Religious Radicalism” in Palgrave Advances in the European Reformations, ed. Alec Ryrie (Houndsmills and New York: Palgrave, 2006), pp. 212-231.

· “An Article Missing from the Mennonite Encyclopedia: ‘The Enlightenment in the Netherlands’” in Commoners and Community, ed. C. Arnold Snyder (Kitchener: Pandora Press, 2002), pp. 101-120.

Research Grants held (including dates) and Research Awards or Honours:
· German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) visiting scholar grant (2007)

· Brock University/SSHRC grant (2001)

· Brock HRI Grant (2001)

· Solmsen postdoctoral fellowship from the Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison (September 1999 to May 2000)

· SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship (September 1997 to August 1999)

· postdoctoral fellowship at the Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz, Germany (November 1996 to August 1997)

· SSHRC doctoral fellowship (September 1993 to August 1996)

Areas of Research Interest (in brief):
history of religious movements before 1800; world and comparative history; Reformation history; Mennonites in Europe