Rifton, NY (PRWEB) July 17, 2012
A new website launched 77 years after his death showcases the writings of one of the most intriguing spiritual figures of 20th century. Eberhard Arnold (1883 – 1935) was a prolific writer, sought-after speaker and respected theologian with links to contemporaries such as Dietrich Bonheoffer, Martin Buber and Karl Barth.
In 1920, convinced that he had to move beyond words, Arnold left a promising career and a fine home in an affluent Berlin neighborhood and moved with his family into a barn in the rural village of Sannerz, Germany. With Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the example of the first Christians as a blueprint, he and handful of friends started a farming community grounded in prayer, work, fellowship, nonviolence and reverence for life.
With that simple but daring first step Arnold began the Bruderhof, which has since grown into an international Christian communal movement. Like the first Christians, members of the Bruderhof (“place of brothers”) renounced private property and shared all their belongings. Besides the early Christians, they took inspiration from Francis of Assisi and the sixteenth-century Anabaptists, among others.
Eberhard Arnold had been a prominent figure in the “Youth Movement” that swept Germany after the First World War, rejecting stuffy religion and bourgeois lifestyles. Thousands of these young people passed through his little community. More than a few stayed. They were soon joined by like-minded people from other countries.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Bruderhof members resisted, refusing to salute Hitler, serve in his army, or allow Nazi teachers in their school. During this escalating conflict Eberhard Arnold died unexpectedly in 1935 while undergoing surgery for a broken leg. A short while later the Nazis confiscated the community’s property and expelled it from Germany.
However, Arnold’s vision and the community he founded live on and continue to inspire new generations of seekers. Now some of the best of Eberhard Arnold’s extensive writings and books are available in English on EberhardArnold.com, a website recently launched by the Bruderhof in the hope that his words will encourage the growing number of people who are trying to live in community or are working to build a more just and humane society. The website is a work in progress; more content will be added regularly.
The site features a video history of the Bruderhof, Eberhard Arnold’s biography, books, essays, poems, and a selection of short quotes. Arnold is also often featured on the Bruderhof Daily Dig, a daily blog of thought-provoking writings. More of Eberhard Arnold’s books can be found on the Plough Publishing website.
At a time of global instability, when capitalism has failed to offer any real security to so many of the world’s people, Eberhard Arnold’s vision of a society transformed by Jesus’ way of simple living, sharing and caring is more relevant than ever.