From The Author
Incunabula Press salutes those of all lands and creeds who promote freedom through advocacy, by all peaceful means possible.
Today, the worldwide web is the second information revolution. 500 years ago in Europe, the first information revolution was the printing press. For the first time, information could be self-taught, learned, and processed by the individual. Before the literacy revolution, the medieval church and state were one power, and the people obeyed blindly. They were unschooled, and knew right only as whatever the priests and lords commanded. These virtual slaves were called ‘villeins’.
The brethren were an underground movement of reformers who believed in the right and responsibility of every man and woman— to learn what was true, what was false, each for themselves. They saw personal awareness as the one true means of resisting evil. Their tool was the free teaching of literacy. If people could be taught to read the scriptures for themselves, the power of Christ’s message of love for all, might redeem their violent world. The church-state fought back, using every means to keep its illiterate villeins in manageable ignorance, to slave on estate lands and to fight in war.
The primal commands of Christ, to love one another, to love thy enemies, struggles to be heard and believed. Other religions support war as well. Humanity has become a closed structure on a planet of shrinking resources. We will live as one or perish as one, together.
Today, the second information revolution— the world-wide-web— binds humanity ever closer. This new unity, forced upon all peoples by technology, is the greatest challenge ever confronted by Mankind. Our only hope is a world community of fellowship. Our world must find a way to live in peace and in the hope of goodwill toward men, of all lands, religions, and languages. If love of mankind cannot wipe away hatred, we are all doomed.
These were the beliefs of the brethren, 500 years ago. Young and old, female and male, they pledged their lives to the liberation of others. They changed their world in ways they could never have foreseen.
The Villeins Trilogy is their story in three parts— Brethren, Villeins, Ausbund.