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 Featured Article: "Grebel, Conrad (ca. 1498-1526)"
Conrad Grebel (ca. 1498-1526), can be considered the chief founder of Swiss-South German Anabaptism. Much less widely known than Hans Denck or Balthasar Hubmaier, he is nevertheless historically of much greater significance, for without him Anabaptism in its historical form would probably never have come into existence and he represents original Anabaptism in the form in which it has been perpetuated to the present day, whereas Denck and Hubmaier represent sideward movements from the main stream, both of which diverged significantly on major points and both of which soon died out.
Grebel was viewed as the outstanding leader of original Swiss Anabaptism (properly called the "Swiss Brethren" movement) by his enemies, as well as his followers. Zwingli viewed him as the head of the new heretical faction in Zürich. In January 1525, just after the break with what was destined to become the Anabaptist group, he wrote to Vadian, "Conrad Grebel and a few other less important persons are holding fast to their standpoint." In a letter to Oecolampadius and others in November 1526, shortly after Grebel's death, Zwingli referred to Grebel as "the ringleader (coryphacus) of the Anabaptists." Johannes Kessler of St. Gall, in his famous Reformation diary, Sabbata, calls Grebel the arch-Anabaptist (Erzwidertouffer). And the records of a very important disputation, held in 1538 between the evangelical preachers of Bern and the Bernese Anabaptist leaders, the minutes of which still lie unpublished in the state archives in Bern (labeled Unnütze Papiere), indicate that the Brethren counted Grebel as the "first Anabaptist" (der erste Täufer).
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