Biblical Concordance of the Swiss Brethren, 1540, Translated by by Gilbert Fast and Galen Peters. Edited by C. Arnold Snyder. Intorduction by Joe Springer
2001. 296 pp. ISBN: 978-1894710169
It is well-known that first-generation Anabaptists immersed themselves in Scripture - but how did they interpret the Bible? What verses were most important to them? How did the Bible shape their piety and daily life? The Biblical Concordance of the Swiss Brethren, available for the first time in English, goes a long way to providing answers to these questions. In this early printed booklet, the Swiss Brethren organized Old and New Testament passages under topical headings, beginning with the "Fear of God" and ending with "Child Rearing," with over sixty more topical selections in between. Readers with interests in the Bible and Anabaptism will find this book a valuable addition to the literature.
"The Biblical Concordance of the Swiss Brethren is a topical collection of biblical texts, compiled between 1529 and 1540, which may have circulated in manuscript and was eventually published. At least fourteen German editions and one Dutch edition appeared between 1540 and 1710-among Swiss Brethren publications only the Ausbund rivals it in the number of editions published, and bibliographic evidence suggests that the Hutterites made use of it as well. This popularity makes the concordance a valuable resource for studying the history of the Swiss Brethren and other Anabaptist traditions as well. Its topical organization and the simplicity of its structure provide insights not only into how the Swiss Brethren read the Bible, but also how they proselytized and instructed new members. In his general introduction to the volume, Arnold Snyder draws parallels between the topical organization of the concordance and that of Anabaptist prison testimonies to highlight the oral/aural nature of early Swiss Brethren culture and communication. He also argues that the choice of topics in the concordance and the selection of the biblical texts assigned to those topics provide a glimpse into the theological and spiritual heart of Anabaptism."
- Geoffrey Dipple, in the Mennonite Quarterly Review