Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer

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Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer nach den Ur­kunden dargestellt (Frauenfeld, 1895, 411 pages) by Ernst Müller, a Swiss Reformed pastor in Langnau, Emmental, Switzerland, is a most valuable historical work on the Bernese Anabaptists, which led in part to the honorary doctor's degree for its author in 1904 from the University of Jena. The spirit of the author is well communicated by his preface, in which he says:

The justification of this work lies in the fact that this section of Swiss church history has never before been treated, and therefore a gap will be filled, not only in this field, but also in the history of that great spiritual move­ment of the Reformation known as Anabaptism. . . . This is a martyr church, which has its justifi­cation and its strength in its history. The willing­ness to sacrifice and the dedication to ideal values which those manifested who suffered for their faith deserves to be snatched from the forgotten past as a monument to the character of this people.

In 20 thoroughly scholarly chapters, based on primary sources, the author traces the Bernese Ana­baptists from the canton of Bern in 1525 to the early 19th century in North America. The first 90 pages are occupied with the 16th-century move­ment in Bern, followed by a short chapter on Bernese Anabaptists in Moravia and Russia (Hutterites). The major section of the book, pp. 104-313, is devoted largely to the persecution of the Anabaptists-Mennonites by the Bernese authorities and their emigration to Basel, Alsace, Palatinate, Holland, and Pennsylvania. Further chapters treat the Amish division, the fate of the Swiss in Hol­land, Prussia, and Neuenburg, the Anabaptist hunters (Täuferjäger), the Swiss Mennonites in North America, and a brief account of the Ber­nese Mennonites in their native canton in the 19th century.

The author is remarkably objective and sympathetic. He does not spare his own church and government. A valuable feature of the book is its exploitation of the rich materials in the [[Amsterdam Mennonite Library (Bibliotheek en Archief van de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam)|Amsterdam Mennonite Archives]] on the Swiss and Palatine Mennonites of the years from 1650 to 1750.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 176.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 23 Jul 2024.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1956). Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 July 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 507. All rights reserved.

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