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Abecedarians were a 16th-century German sect of Anabaptists who effected an absolute disdain for all human knowledge, contending that God would enlighten his elect from within themselves, giving them knowledge of necessary truths by visions and ecstasies, with which human learning would interfere.
They rejected every other means of instruction, and claimed that to be saved one must even be ignorant of the first letters of the alphabet; whence their name, A-B-C-darians. They also considered the study of theology as a species of idolatry, and regarded learned men who did any preaching as falsifiers of God's word.
Nicholas Storch led this sect, preaching that the teaching of the Holy Spirit was all that was necessary. Andreas Karlstadt adopted these views, abandoned his title of doctor and became a street porter.
Opera: "The Abecedarian," a one-act, one-man opera with piano accompaniment, libretto and music by Brad Liebl (premiere 1990 Lyric Opera Cleveland).
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