Adler, Clemens (d. 1536)

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Clemens Adler was a Moravian Anabaptist of Austerlitz belonging to the Stabler party of Jakob Widemann, which later became the Hutterites. On 12 April 1529, he completed the writing of a very important extensive manuscript (apparently never published), which bears the title Das Urteil von dem Schwert mit unterschidlichem gewalt Dreier Fürstenthum der Welt, Juden, und Christen, mit Anderen Anliegenden sachen. It exists in only one manuscript copy made ca. 1729, which was found in 1951 by Samuel Geiser (Bragg bei Biel, Switzerland) in the possession of a Mennonite family near Langnau, canton of Bern, which has been transcribed and of which copies are now in Mennonite Library and Archives (North Newton, Kansas) and the Mennonite Historical Library (Goshen, Indiana).

In the preface the author indicates that his purpose is to distinguish the various ages of history and to delineate correctly the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. Christ is the king of peace and the king of righteousness. The church has the power of the keys to discipline its members and to maintain the high standard of the "order of Christ." Adler's writing is a thoroughly nonresistant work, and of high quality. He also treats briefly community of goods and the oath. It is strange that Adler's name does not appear in the Hutterite Chronicle.

In 1533 Adler successfully worked as a missionary in Wohlau and allegedly led the peasants of two villages there to Moravia. During one of his missionary journeys he disrupted a worship service at the parish church in Glatz, preached before the assembled crowd, and was subsequently invited to preach by several local nobles. After several arrests, releases and escapes, Adler was finally imprisoned, sentenced and beheaded in the city of Glogau in 1536. He was accused of being a founder of the Anabaptists in Silesia.


Geiser, Samuel. "An Ancient Anabaptist Witness for Nonresistance." Mennonite Quarterly Review (1951): 66-69, 72.

Rothkegel, Martin. "Anabaptism in Moravia and Silesia." In A companion to Anabaptism and Spiritualism, 1521-1700, edited by John D. Roth and James Stayer. Leiden: Brill, 2007: 194.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Sam Steiner
Date Published January 2015

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MLA style

Bender, Harold S and Sam Steiner. "Adler, Clemens (d. 1536)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2015. Web. 20 Apr 2019.,_Clemens_(d._1536)&oldid=130387.

APA style

Bender, Harold S and Sam Steiner. (January 2015). Adler, Clemens (d. 1536). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 April 2019, from,_Clemens_(d._1536)&oldid=130387.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1056. All rights reserved.

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