Castelberger, Andreas (ca. 1500-after 1531)

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1953 Article[[|]]

Andreas Castelberger (Andres auf der Stültzen), a follower of Conrad Grebel in the first Swiss Brethren group at Zürich, also called Andres auf der Krucken (crutches), or simply the Stültzer; in Chur he was called hinkender (limping) Andres, because he was a cripple. He was from the canton of Grisons and a bookseller by trade. As early as 1522, before he joined the Anabaptists, he had shown himself a successful "innovator." He was expressly forbidden to continue his meetings with the "confused people," which were attended by large numbers. At these meetings—so the witnesses said at the trial—he had given an exegesis of Romans and preached particularly against pride and usury, church benefices, and war. He joined the new Anabaptist movement with enthusiasm, but he could not stay in Zürich more than a short time, for the non-Zürich followers of the group, including Andreas, were expelled by the mandate of 18 January 1525. In consideration of his illness the Zürich council granted his request to postpone his expulsion by permitting him to stay a month longer, but he was forbidden to preach (letter to the council published in Anzeiger für Schweizerische Geschichte, 1900, No. 3, 329-331). He later returned to his homeland in Chur, and was also very successful in the Anabaptist cause there. A letter written by Conrad Grebel to Castelberger in May 1525 was published with annotations in Mennonite Quarterly Review 1 (July 1927) 41-52. -- Neff

1987 Article

Andreas Castelberger was resident in Zürich after late 1521 or early 1522. He plied the trade of bookseller between Glarus, Basel, and Einsiedeln. As supplier of radical Reformation pamphlets in and around Zürich, he became the liaison between the rural and urban radicals, made contact with Andreas Karlstadt, and was one of the signatories of Conrad Grebel's letter to Thomas Müntzer. J. F. G. Goeters considered Castelberger's study meetings for lay people to have been the cradle of Zürich Anabaptism. Here biblical opinions were sought on such topics as church benefices, usury, payment of the tithe, war, images, and infant baptism. On 21 January 1525, the day of the first Zürich Anabaptist baptisms, the city council ordered him to cease all private meetings and to leave within eight days. Petitions pleading ill health secured temporary extensions. On 12 June 1525 the council learned that Castelberger was reading Zwingli's Taufbüchlin (published 27 May 1525) to peasant visitors, explaining "that Zwingli had written falsely ... strengthening them in Anabaptism, holding the opinion that one should have no authority and need not pay the tithe." Without further delay, Castelberger, his wife, children, books and belongings were loaded on a boat and deported. Among the books were presumably holdings from Grebel's library. Only a few weeks earlier Grebel, seeking to cover his debts, had consigned his library to Castelberger.

From Zürich, Castelberger returned to his home area of Graubünden (Grisons). On 17 March 1528, the reformer of Chur, Johannes Comander, complained that "limping Andreas" was sowing dissent among his parishioners. A Castelberger, presumably our Andreas, obtained citizenship at Chur in 1531. Thereafter our sources fall silent. -- WOP


Bender, Harold S. Conrad Grebel, c. 1498-1526: the founder of the Swiss Brethren sometimes called Anabaptists. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1950. Reprinted Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1971.

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Harder, Leland, ed. The Sources of Swiss Anabaptism: The Grebel Letters and Related Documents, Classics of the Radical Reformation, vol. 4. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1985: 357-358, 203-204, 533-534, 715-718.

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Muralt, L. von, W. Schmidt, eds. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer in der Schweiz, vol. 1. Zürich: S. Hirzel, 1952: 37, 55-56, 386-388.

Packull, Werner O. "The Origins of Swiss Anabaptism in the Context of the Reformation of the Common Man." Journal of Mennonite Studies 3 (1985): 38-43, 47.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Werner O. Packull
Date Published 1987

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian and Werner O. Packull. "Castelberger, Andreas (ca. 1500-after 1531)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 29 Sep 2023.,_Andreas_(ca._1500-after_1531)&oldid=144931.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Werner O. Packull. (1987). Castelberger, Andreas (ca. 1500-after 1531). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 September 2023, from,_Andreas_(ca._1500-after_1531)&oldid=144931.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 523-524, v. 5, p. 128. All rights reserved.

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