RECOMMENDED READING

We would make recommendations on the following books for an initial introduction to the life and times of Thomas Müntzer. Because this is specifically an English-language website, most of the books selected are in English. However, for anyone with some knowledge of German, you will find pointers to appropriate books and articles here too. Details of almost all these books can be found in the online Bibliography. .
We would refer you also to the recent Dammaschke & Vogler full bibliography of 2013 - see foot of this page.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

For the very best English-language introduction to our Thomas, you should get hold of Tom Scott's biography - Thomas Müntzer - Theology and Revolution in the German Reformation (London 1989).
Any of the studies by E.Gordon Rupp will also repay attention. His book Patterns of Reformation (London 1969) contains a lengthy section on Müntzer.  

In Germany, not one, but two new Müntzer biographies have recently been published:
In July 2015, a new and completely revised edition of Hans-Jürgen Goertz' biography of Müntzer (first edition back in 1989) - click here for details  
In June 2016, a biographical and theological study co-authored by Siegfried Bräuer and Günter Vogler - click here for details.
Andrew Drummond's new book The Dreadful History and Judgement of God on Thomas Müntzer was published in February 2024 and is not be ignored...Tap here to view more details...

 

EDITIONS OF HIS WORKS

Peter Matheson's translation of Müntzer's Collected Works, published in 1988 (paperback 1994), is by far the best and most complete edition of Müntzer's works in English.
Michael Baylor offers translations of a selection of Müntzer's main works in his 1993 edition Revelation and Revolution: basic writings of Thomas Müntzer; and the "Wu-Ming"-edition Thomas Müntzer - Sermon Before the Princes of 2010 contains a sub-set of those. The latter book is a relatively cheap and very accessible place to start with these works.
Andrew Drummond's English translations of Müntzer's main published works, and of a selection of his letters, is available on Amazon.
An all-encompassing new three-volume edition of Müntzer's works in German is now complete - published in reverse order: Volume 3 (Leipzig 2004) contains source material and documents; Volume 2 (Leipzig 2010) contains his letters; Volume 1 (Leipzig 2017) contains all of his printed works, in addition to various unprinted manuscripts.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Peter Blickle provides an excellent overview of the events of 1524 and 1525 in Germany, in his The Revolution of 1525 (Baltimore 1981).
Robert (Bob) Scribner's short but excellent The German Reformation provides a pithy analysis of the historical and ecclesiastical motors driving the Reformation (London 1987)
Although it may seem wildly ancient, Friedrich Engels' study of The German Peasant War is still a good introduction to the historical period and the main events of 1524 and 1525. First published in German in 1850, it is regularly re-published, and several recent editions exist. Anything which Engels has to say on Müntzer should be taken with a large pinch of salt: Engels used the historical knowledge available to him at the time, and came to some pretty over-inflated conclusions; this does not, however, detract from his overall analysis of the period. The book's significance today is that it was the study which kick-started East German interest in Müntzer, and thereby the whole historiography of him in Germany today.

 

SPECIFIC TOPICS

There are relatively few articles or books in English, on - for example - Müntzer's theology or the principal stations of his life. Most of those which exist are to be found in US-based periodicals - for example, the Mennonite Quarterly Review or the 16th Century Journal. At the risk of promoting my own work, Andrew Drummond's article on Thomas Müntzer and the Fear of Man (Gütersloh 1980) attempts to give some insight into the relationship between his theology and his political activity.
If, however, you can read German, then any of the books or articles by the German researchers Manfred Bensing or Max Steinmetz; and more recently, Siegfried Bräuer, Günter Vogler, Hans-Jürgen Goertz et al will bring ample reward - all of these are detailed in the online Bibliography.
Special mention must be made, however, of Thomas T. Müller's huge study of events in Mühlhausen in the years 1524 and 1525. His Mörder ohne Opfer (Murderers without victims) (2021) is packed with archival fact and provides an illuminating picture of one of Müntzer's most important theatres.
Similarly, Lucas Wölbing's book about Müntzer and Allstedt - Müntzers langer Schatten (Müntzer's long shadow) (2024) provides much background detail to his activity in that town, as well as what happened there after he had left the place.
A series of specialist articles/books on Müntzer is currently being published by the Thomas-Müntzer-Gesellschaft in Germany - click here for details.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

There are very few printed bibliographies, but the very latest, arguably the best (and - alas! - by far the most expensive) is Marion Dammaschke and Günter Vogler's mammoth Thomas-Müntzer-Bibliographie (1519-2012) (Baden-Baden 2013). It runs to 536 pages and contains details of almost every book or essay dedicated to (or mentioning) Müntzer, up to and including 2012: that would be around 3200 of the little devils.
For some more information on this important book, Click here for more info please click here....