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 Featured Article: "Manz, Felix (ca. 1498-1527)"
Felix Manz, one of the founders and first martyr of the original Swiss Brethren congregation in Zürich, Switzerland, was born about 1498, the son of a Zürich canon, acquired a thorough knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. When Zwingli came to Zürich in 1519, Manz joined him enthusiastically and became a regular attendant at Zwingli's Bible classes.
Differences of opinion soon arose when he and his associates demanded the abolition of tithes and interest. Zwingli hesitated, although he could not entirely close his mind to the Biblical basis for this demand (see his noted sermon on divine and human righteousness on 24 June 1523). Even more insistently the Brethren demanded the abolition of the Mass. When Zwingli left the decision in this matter in the hands of the Zürich city council the Brethren broke with him and henceforth held their own meetings in the home of Felix Manz's mother.
The question of baptism at once arose. Several fathers refused to have their children baptized. They were fined. On 17 January 1525 a public disputation was held in the city hall of Zürich to decide the issue, with Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz representing the Brethren. Zwingli was pronounced the victor. In consequence an order was issued on 18 January threatening those who would not have their children baptized within eight days with banishment from the city. Grebel and Manz were to desist from their arguing and submit to the opinion of "my lords (of the city council)."
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