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Contents

General Histories

The best general accounts of the Anabaptist-Mennonite movement in Switzerland are those by C. Henry Smith, The Story of the Mennonites (3rd ed. 1950), and John Horsch, Mennonites in Europe (2nd ed. 1950). Samuel Geiser, the only Mennonite historian of Switzerland, published a very valuable history of the Swiss Mennonites under the title Die Taufgesinnten-Gemeinden (1931, pp. 496), but as the title suggests it is not limited to the Swiss, only pp. 126-214 and 369-486 being devoted to this group. Anna Brons, Ursprung, Entwickelung . . . der Mennoniten (1884) has a generous section on Switzerland. Ernst Correll, Das schweizerische Täufermennonitentum, Ein soziologischer Bericht (1925, pp. 145), includes France and South Germany. Ernst Müller's Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer (1895, pp. 411) and Delbert Gratz's Bernese Anabaptists (1953, pp. 205) are thorough regional histories, Gratz including emigrant settlements in Europe and America. All general surveys of Anabaptism and Mennonitism must of course pay attention to the history of Swiss Anabaptism as the initial aspect of the whole movement and need not be further mentioned here; likewise general or cantonal histories of Swiss Protestantism. However, A. H. Newman's A History of Antipedobaptism . . . to 1609 has a very good section on Swiss Anabaptism, pp. 88-152; J. H. Ott's Annales Anabaptistici, hoc est Historia Universalis de Anabaptistarum origine, progressu . . . (1672; pp. 360) reports chronologically year by year, consists largely of quotations from sources, and does not segregate Swiss material, though containing much of it. J. Heberle, "Die Anfänge des Anabaptismus in der Schweiz," Jahrbücher für deutsche Theologie III (1858), 225-279, and C. A. Cornelius, Geschichte des Münsterischen Aufruhrs II, Die Wiedertaufe (I860, pp. 413), 1-30 and 240-250, are excellent. Special monographs on Swiss Anabaptism include: H. S. Burrage, A History of the Anabaptists in Switzerland (1882, pp. 230); Gottfried Strasser, "Der Schweizerische Anabaptismus zur Zeit der Reformation," in Berner Beiträge zur Geschichte der Schweizerischen Reformationskirchen (1889, pp. 168-245); and Richard Nitsche, Geschichte der Wiedertäufer in der Schweiz (1885, pp. 107). L. von Muralt gives a valuable summary of Swiss Anabaptist doctrines in Glaube und Lehre der schweizerischen Täufer in der Reformationszeit (1938, pp. 49), while H. Lüdemann, Reformation und Täufertum in ihrem geschichtlichen Verhältnis zum christlichen Prinzip (1896, pp. 95) sharply attacks the Anabaptist position. Georg Thormann gives a valuable report on the Swiss Anabaptists of the 17th century, particularly in Bern, in his Probier-Stein oder Schriftmässige und aus dem wahren innerlichen Christenthumb Hergenommene Gewissenhafte Prüfung des Täuffertums (1693, pp. 610). Robert Friedmann's Mennonite Piety Through the Centuries, Its Genius and Its Literature (1949, pp. 287), besides the chapter "The Devotional Literature of the Swiss Brethren 1600-1800" (pp. 154-175), devotes the first part (pp. 3-90) to a treatment of "Anabaptism and Pietism" based largely on a study of the Swiss J. J. Wolleb, Gespräche zwischen einem Pietisten und Wiedertäufer (Basel, 1722, pp. 314). Paul Peachey's Die soziale Herkunft der Schweizer Täufer (1954, pp. 157) gives the first thorough report on the social origins of the Swiss Anabaptist population.

Cantonal and Local Histories

Zürich, known as the birthplace of Anabaptism, has received the most frequent treatment. Heinrich Bullinger's two books, Von dem unverschampten fräfel . . . (1531, folios 178) and Der Widerteufferen Ursprung, fürgang, Secten, wäsen (1560, pp. 231), while most valuable, are polemical attacks rather than history. The best monograph is Cornelius Bergmann, Die Täuferbewegung in Kanton Zürich bis 1660 (1916, pp. 176). But see also Emil Egli, Die Züricher Wiedertäufer zur Reformationszeit (1878, pp. 104), and Walther Köhler, "Die Züricher Täufer" in Gedenkschrift zum 400-jährigen Jubiläum der Mennoniten (1925), 48-64. Fritz Blanke's brilliant Brüder in Christo (1955, pp. 88) tells the story of the rise and end of the first Anabaptist congregation at Zollikon, canton of Zürich, in 1525. Paul Kläui, Geschichte der Gemeinde Horgen (1952, pp. 746), 185-192, includes the story of the Anabaptist congregation at Horgen. Walter Rauschenbusch, "The Zürich Anabaptists and Thomas Müntzer," in American Journal of Theology (1905, pp. 91-106), prints Grebel's letter to Müntzer in 1524 with comments. A report of persecutions in the Zürich territory 1635-1645 is contained in an undated pamphlet, Ein warhafftiger Bericht von den Brüdern im Schweitzerland, in dem Zürcher Gebiet, wegen der Trübsalen, which has been reprinted (46 pp.) in all American editions of the Ausbund beginning in 1742. See also Wahrhafter Bericht unsers des Bürgermeisters . . . der Statt Zürich . . . unserer Handlungen gegen den Widertäufferen (1639, pp. 71). Other cantonal and local histories worthy of note are Emil Egli, Die St. Galler Täufer (1887, pp. 64); Ernst Müller, "Langnauer Täufer vor 200 Jahren," in Kirchliches Jahrbuch für den Kanton Bern IV (1893) 63-133; P. Burckhardt, Die Basler Täufer (1898, pp. 125); C. A. Bächtold, "Die Schaffhauser Wiedertäufer in der Reformationszeit" in Beiträge zur vaterländischen Geschichte (1900, pp. 73-118); W. J. McGlothlin, Die Berner Täufer bis 1532 (1902, pp. 37); G. Appenzeller, "Solothurner Täufertum im 16. Jahrhundert," in Festschrift für Eugen Tatonioff (1938, pp. 110-134) and "Beiträge zur Geschichte des Solothurner Täufertums" in Jahrbuch für Solothurner Geschichte (1941, pp. 50-89); A. Fluri, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer (1912, pp. 69, reprint from Blätter für Bernische Geschichte, . . .); J. Heiz, "Täufer im Aargau" in Taschenbuch . . . des Kantons Aargau (1902, pp. 107-205); R. Feller, "Die Anfänge des Täufertums in Bern" in Festgabe für Heinrich Türler (1931, pp. 105-112); O. Vasella, "Von den Anfängen der Bündnerischen Täuferbewegung," in Zeitschrift für Schweitzerische Geschichte (1938, pp. 165-184). T. de Quervain’s Kirchliche und soziale Zustände in Bern (1906, pp. 286) has a good chapter on the Anabaptists (pp. 120-158) and Max Stiefel’s similar Die kirchlichen Zustände im Knonaueramt nach der Reformation 1531-1600 (1947) has a useful chapter on the Anabaptists (pp. 152-167); R. Wolkan, Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer (1903, pp. 295), has considerable sections on the hymns of the Swiss Brethren (pp. 26-56, 118-164). For biographies of Conrad Grebel, the founder of Zürich Anabaptism, see Christian Neff, "Konrad Grebel," in Gedenkschrift (op. cit., pp. 65-133) and H. S. Bender, Conrad Grebel (1950, pp. 326). Beatrice Jenny's theological treatment, Das Schleitheimer Täuferbekenntnis" 1527 (1951, pp. 81), taken with Fritz Blanke's "Beobachtungen zum ältesten Täuferbekenntnis" in Archif  für Reformations-Geschichte (1940, pp. 242-248) and J. C. Wenger's translation and commentary, "The Schleitheim Confession of Faith," in Mennonite Quarterly Review XXIV (1950, pp. 243-253), gives a definitive picture. Milton Gascho's "The Amish Division of 1693-1697 in Switzerland" in Mennonite Quarterly Review XI (1937, pp. 235-266) is excellent, based on the sources. Jan Matthijssen gives a good account of the great Bern disputation of 1538 in Mennonite Quarterly Review XXII (1948, pp. 19-33). M. de Boer's "Vom Thunersee zum Sappemeer, ein Täufer- und Auswandererschicksal aus drei Jahrhunderten," in Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde (1947) 1-24, is a valuable account of the Swiss Mennonite settlement in Holland in 1711 ff.

Source publications

The Swiss Anabaptist sources are to be published in a series of at least four volumes, Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer in der Schweiz, of which Volume I, Zürich, edited by L. von Muralt and Walter Schmid (replacing Egli's Aktensammlung of 1879) appeared in 1952 (pp. 428). The next volume (published in 1957) included the record of the Bern disputation of 1538. J. C. Füsslin, Beiträge zur Erläuterung der Kirchen-Reformations-Geschichten des Schweitzerlandes, 5 vols. (1741-1753), contains much material not in von Muralt-Schmid, which stops with 1533. The discussions of the Reformed preachers of Bern with Hans Pfistermeyer in 1531 were printed under the title Ein christenlich Gespräch (pp. 90). Oecolampadius' written reply to the Anabaptists Carlin and Hubmaier appeared in1527 under the title Underrichtung von dem Widertauff von der Oberkeit, und von dem Eyd, auff Carlins N. Widertauffers Artikel and Antwort auff Balthasar Hümeiers Büchlein wider der Predicanten Gespräch zu Basel von dem Kindertauff (pp. 103). The only other public Anabaptist disputation to be published was that of Zofingen of 1532 (Handlungen oder Acta der Disputation gehalten zu Zofingen,1532, folios 154).

1959 Supple­ment

R. Feller, "Die ersten bernischen Wieder-taufer," Archiv des historischen Vereins des Kantons Bern, 1931; "Bernische Reformation und der Staat," in Berner Universitatsreden (1928); H. Kaser, "Ausserkirchliche christliche Versammlungen im Unter-Emmenthal," in Brosamen, 1926, 1-9; "Chorgericht und Landvogt in Behandlung der Tauferge-schichte," Blatter fur Bernische Geschichte und Altertumskunde (1928, No. 2); R. Feller, "Sittengesetze der Bernischen Reformation," in Festschrift, Fr. E. Welti (1932) 54-82 (deals with moral criti­cisms expressed by Anabaptists in the disputations of 1532 and 1538); Leo von Muralt, "Gesprach mit den Wiedertaufern am 22. Januar 1528 zu Bern" (Notizen des Stadtschreibers Peter Cyro), Ztscht für schweizerische Kirchengeschichte (1932, No. 4); T. Schiess, "Der Glaubenszwang in der St. Gallischen Kirche des XVII. Jahrhunderts. Der 'Wiedertaufer' Josef Hochreutiner u. Pfarrer Michael Bingg," re­print from Schriften des Vereins fur Geschichte des Bodensees und seiner Umgebung, No. 51 (n.d.-1925?) 1-23; A. Bucher, Die Reformation in den Freien Aemtern und in der Stadt Bremgarten (Beilage zum fahresberickt der Kantonalen Lehranstalt Sarnen), which is a dissertation at Freiburg (Sw.) 1950, contains a section, "Die Taufer in den Freien Aemtern"; Clyde Smith, The Amish Man (Toron­to, 1912).



Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959


Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Historiography: Switzerland." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 Oct 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historiography:_Switzerland&oldid=65290.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Historiography: Switzerland. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 October 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historiography:_Switzerland&oldid=65290.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 756-758; vol. 4, p. 1092. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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