Not too long ago I was searching on Amazon.com for a book to procure which is generally something related to Anabaptistica. I stumbled across a title that I had never noticed prior called From Anabaptist Seed: Exploring the Historical Center of Anabaptist Teachings and Practices by C. Arnold Snyder (2008). I almost did not purchase it because many of the Anabaptist or Mennonite works lack the “Look Inside” option or reviews for that matter. Another thing that put me off is that I have found that many an Anabaptist or Mennonite volume possess a high price in relation to other writings of a similar nature.
This particular book was listed at $8.95 in addition to it spanning the extent of a whopping 51 pages. I was terribly put off by these two facts. That was a lot of money for a diminutive booklet. At that point, I desired to pass it by and search for something else but for some peculiar reason I stopped and purchased it nevertheless. Sometime later when it arrived I must be frank in saying that at the outset I felt as if I was fleeced. I knew my purchase was lacking on page count but what arrived was exceptionally thin. I could not believe I paid $8.95 plus shipping and handling for what I had just obtained in the mail.
However, I eventually got over my anger and realized how futile it would be to attempt sending the booklet back and try to get a refund. So I sat down and began to look over the table of contents. The subjects it covered impressed me. Since it seized my interest on just contents, alone I started to read it. This is when I realized what a gem of a booklet From Anabaptist Seed truly is, the feelings of being cheated was an afterthought (even though $8.95 is still a lot of money for it).
Now you would think that a 51-page booklet would take no time at all to read but it did not. Rather it took a while to get through it. Every time I read a section, it compelled me to pause and reflect. True enough it was subjects I was conversant from studying Anabaptistica. Nevertheless, I guess it was just how Snyder framed and articulated the book’s subject matter that revitalized my attraction. Not that Anabaptism became uninteresting or dull it’s just that the detail put into it compelled me to pursue my passion even more. I must admit the work clarified some areas for me that was not too clear at first and it induced me to examine other aspects of Anabaptism belief and praxis that I did not feel was pending earlier on. It is not a scholarly work but more of a premier on Anabaptism and by extension Mennonites even though I do not see that much of a correlation between the two groups formally at present.
Since this book captivated me so, I will devote a series of blog articles that will address each section of the booklet and articulate whether I think its contents are relevant and how it would look in a contemporary setting. This will be a part of my Anabaptism New-Defined Series.