The sociological development of the Taborite movement.
Bednar, Zdenek Frantisek
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The purpose of this study is to present a sociological analysis of one phase of Hussitism: the Taborite movement. This movement presents a splendid example of an attempt to realize the absolute Christian social order as well as an example of the development of ideas, movements, parties, groups, and sects from one ecclesiastical idea. The knowledge of the Taborite movement in the English-speaking world is very limited because the primary Czech sources are inaccessible and the Anglo-American sources are few and very inadequate. This research, which is largely based on original Czech sources and the conclusions of Czech historical scholarship, is undertaken in the belief that this movement in which the "warriors of God" strove to impose the Evangelical Law upon the life of society deserve a fuller treatment in the sociology of religion. The dissertation takes critical account of the causes, ideas, and influences which led to the development of the Taborite movement and finally to the establishment of the community of Tabor; and it attempts to state to what degree these causes, ideas, and influences were religious and to what degree they were the results of the social, economic, political, national, and military situation. Particular attention is given to the effect of the crisis of feudalism on the common man who played a major role in this movement, to his revolutionary training and to the evaluation of the ideas of the native Czech Reform. To explain certain revolutionary ideas of the Taborites (Holy war, sovereignty of the people, the equalitarian-communist conception of the State, the Lord's Supper under each kind, etc.) which cannot be fully explained by the thoughts of the native Reform nor by the thoughts of Wyclif, under whose influence the native Reform was transformed, requires an investigation of the foreign influences. The influences of Marsiglia of Padua, Pseudochrysostom, Nicholas of Dresden, and Peter Payne, as well as those of the Waldensians and the Piccards, are examined. Furthermore, an inquiry is made into the theological, social, and political reasons which led up to the development of the Hussite parties. A detailed analysis of the religious, political, and military situation at the time of the establishment of Tabor, an investigation of Tabor's economics, social and ecclesiastical organizations, an evaluation of the military leadership of Jan Zizka, as well as the re-examination of the sectarian tendencies with respect to the obvious contradictory missionary zeal of the Taborites, provide a basis for the interpretation of Tabor as a fortress and a model community rather than a place of refuge from the world.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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