Benrath, Karl (1845-1924)

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Karl Benrath was church historian, author of Geschichte der Reformation in Venedig (1886) V and special studies entitled "Wiedertäufer im Venetianischen" (Theol. Studien u. Kritiken, 1885) which were made use of in the Mennonitisches Lexicon for articles on the supposed Italian "Anabaptists." He was born 10 August 1845, at Düren, educated at Bonn, Berlin, and Heidelberg, in 1871 went on a scientific tour of several years to Italy and England. From 1879 he was professor at Bonn, and from 1890 professor of church history at Königsberg.

Benrath's 1885 report on the Anabaptists in the Venice region of North Italy has been authoritatively accepted. However, a 1951 doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago by Henry A. Dewind, "Relations between Italian Reformers and Anabaptists in the Mid-Sixteenth Century," has proved conclusively that Benrath was wrong in his identification of Italian anti-Trinitarian Protestants as "Anabaptists." This Encyclopedia will therefore revise or omit all articles found in the Mennonitisches Lexicon on the Italian "Anabaptists," such as Benedetto, Camillo Renato, Don Pietro Manelfi, etc. The article Italy will review the entire matter and give the evidence against Benrath's construction. Dewind's basic conclusion is stated in the following words:

We have learned that an Italian reform movement, which gained a reputation for its rejection of the traditional Christian teachings in the Trinity and in the nature of Christ, and for its open propagation of a variety of other related heretical doctrines, although it was nearly universally denominated "Anabaptist" both by its members and by its contemporary opponents, shared with the other groups which have also been called "Anabaptist" only its belief that infant baptism should be supplanted by the performance of that ceremony on willing adults.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 163.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Benrath, Karl (1845-1924)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 26 Feb 2024.,_Karl_(1845-1924)&oldid=107121.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1953). Benrath, Karl (1845-1924). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 February 2024, from,_Karl_(1845-1924)&oldid=107121.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 274. All rights reserved.

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