The Fat World of the Hutterites: Food and Fatness in the Criticism of Hutterite Anabaptists in Early Modern Moravia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The criticism of Hutterite Anabaptist communities in early modern Moravia repeatedly drew on “fat world” imagery. Presenting the apparent failure of the Hutterite “community of goods”, polemicists suggested that Hutterite leaders kept the best provisions for themselves and became fat from excessive consumption. Meanwhile the other members of the community were said to eat only cabbage and turnips. This article examines these anti-Hutterite texts from the perspective of the “fat world”. It suggests that such critiques drew on contemporary conceptions of the opposition between fat Carnival and gaunt Lent and painted Hutterite society more generally as a kind of “fool’s paradise”. By such means polemicists challenged the idea of a Hutterite utopia, where order ruled and food was plentiful. The article thus explores the blurred boundaries between early modern conceptions of utopia, Carnival and Cockaigne, arguing that this overlap encouraged anti-Hutterite authors to focus on themes of food and fatness within their critiques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-200
Number of pages28
JournalFood and History
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Anabaptists
  • Belly-worshipper
  • Carnival
  • Cockaigne
  • Early modern
  • Excess
  • Fatness
  • Gluttony
  • Hutterites
  • utopia

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Fat World of the Hutterites: Food and Fatness in the Criticism of Hutterite Anabaptists in Early Modern Moravia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this