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Error Felix

In response to:

Paradise Lost from the April 25, 1991 issue

To the Editors:

I have just had the opportunity of reading Conor Cruise O’Brien’s splendid review of Isaiah Berlin’s The Crooked Timber of Humanity (NYR, April 25).

Professor O’Brien writes: “Early Utopias were theocratic in concept, like Thomas Münzer’s regime in Munster in the early sixteenth century” (p. 57).

But, as Norman Cohn taught us in The Pursuit of the Millennium, Thomas Münzer’s sphere of activity was Thuringia and Saxony, not the Rhineland. The regime in Münster was that of the Anabaptists, led by such prophetae as Jan Matthys and John Bockelson of Leyden, and such burghers as Bernt Knipperdollink. In fact, the error reinforces Professor O’Brien’s point: he has given us two theocratic Utopias when he thought he was citing only one.

R.T. Davies
Silver Spring, Maryland

Conor Cruise O’Brien replies:

I thank Mr. Davies for his courteous correction and am grateful for his verdict of felix error.

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