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9
Anabaptists and the Reformation


of all who have since laboured in this field with diligence and success. One writer should be noted, however, as easily surpassing all others during the past two decades in the extent and value of his work, — Dr. Ludwig Keller, State Archivist at Münster. Dr. Keller's special contribution has been to show the genetic relation of the Anabaptists of the Reformation period to the older reform-parties. And if at times his conclusions have outrun his facts, and depended for their soundness rather on his historical insight than on any definite proofs he has been able to bring forward, this cannot be said to vitiate the greater part of his work.

Whether documentary proofs will ever be forthcoming to establish a clear historical connection between the Anabaptists and the older evangelical sects who taught similar doctrines and practices, is a question that for the present had better be relegated for discussion to such as are confident that they possess the gift of prophecy. That there is a genetic connection we are fairly entitled to assume, by the practice of all historical investigators, not as a thing completely proved, but as a convenient and safe working hypothesis. Take a parallel case. It