Menno Simons and the Mennonite Church: Background information when reading Irma Voth

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Irma Voth

A Novel

by Miriam Toews

Irma Voth
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 272 pages
    Apr 2012, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Dawson Oakes

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Menno Simons and the Mennonite Church

Menno Simons was an Anabaptist religious leader born in 1496 in Witmarsen (the Netherlands). Although he was not the founder of this branch of religion, he was a very important figure in the organizing of the Dutch Mennonite church, and his followers became known as Mennonites.

Menno Simons According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia, Simons was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest at Utrecht in 1524, but quickly began to question some of the church's beliefs and practices when, "while he was administering the Mass he began to doubt whether the bread and the wine were actually being changed into the flesh and blood of Christ." Consequently, he began a serious study of the scriptures along with works by humanist, Desiderious Erasmus and Protestant leader, Martin Luther.

In the early 1530s, Simons came in contact with Anabaptist teachings. The word "Anabaptist" means "one who baptizes over again" and relates directly to adult baptism - a practice that, unlike infant baptism...

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