Bisch, Rauff (16th century)

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Rauff Bisch, of Odernheim (Palatinate), Germany, an Anabaptist preacher who represented the Anabaptists of the Palatinate at the disputation of Frankenthal (28 May-19 June 1571). He was their spokesman, and on 6 June was asked to present the addresses of the other speakers, which had heretofore been the task of Hans Büchel of Mure in Lungau (Austria). Bisch was no match for the dialectics of the Palatine theologians; nevertheless his answers to the diffuse rejoinders and subtle questions of his opponents, especially of their spokesman, Peter Dathenus, were sometimes very fitting; this was particularly true of his summarizing comments at the conclusion of the discussion of the assigned questions on confessional matters. Although he had been promised freedom of speech and personal security in the electoral invitation, Rauff Bisch nevertheless had to reckon with having his statements used against him in the future. He felt this and said it openly, when Dathenus tried to convince him in verbose dogmatic arguments. "We are surprised that you want to drive us into a net and trap with such questions." He finally declined to enter upon questions that were unfathomable to the human mind, and at the close of the disputation said, "We cannot burden our conscience with certain articles that we cannot with a clear conscience believe, but only want to cling to what we can answer for to God, for we know nothing better." Nothing is known of Bisch's subsequent life. He was probably not able to accomplish much in the Palatinate, for Elector Fredrick III forbade the Anabaptists to preach after the unsuccessful disputation, even though the officials did not very strictly apply these repressive measures.


Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz: ein Beitrag zur badisch-pfälzischen Reformationsgeschichte. rankfurt am Main : Kommissionsverlag von H. Minjon, 1908: 117 ff.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 224.

Protocoll: Das ist, Alle handlung des gesprechs zu Franckenthal inn der Churfürstlichen Pfaltz, mit denen so man Widertäuffer nennet, Auff dem 28. May angefangen, vnd den 19. Junij dises 1571. jars geendet ; Was für Artickel des Christlichen glaubens inn disem Gesprech verhandelt worden, das weiset das volgend der Churfürstlichen Pfaltz aussschreiben auss .... Getruckt in der Churfürstlichen Statt Heidelberg: durch Johannem Mayer, im Jar 1571.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1953

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Hege, Christian. "Bisch, Rauff (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 Jun 2021.,_Rauff_(16th_century)&oldid=144797.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1953). Bisch, Rauff (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 June 2021, from,_Rauff_(16th_century)&oldid=144797.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 347. All rights reserved.

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