Guldin, Nikolaus (16th century)

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Nikolaus Guldin was an Anabaptist who made his influence felt in the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland, but who caused it serious injury by his attitude. He joined the movement in Zürich in 1525, was seized and expelled from the city after renouncing the faith. In St. Gall he again turned to the Anabaptists. The frivolous nature of his influence is clearly shown in the court records. When he was called to account at Easter 1526 for breaking his recantation, he also recanted in St. Gall, and was released from prison at the intercession of friends and upon his promise never to return.

Concerning other activity among the Anabaptists, it is known that in the spring of 1525 he baptized two women "in the mason's house on the lake." They are perhaps the subjects of the letter, fanatical in tone, published in full in von Muralt-Schmid, Züricher Täuferakten (see also Egli, Die Züricher Wiedertäufer, 38). Another of his letters was written to Hans Meier, a baker in Aarau.

After his dismissal from prison in St. Gall he entered the ranks of his former opponents, and soon managed to gain the confidence of the leading theologians. They say in his praise that his change of heart was lasting. On 16 January 1530 the preachers of Memmingen, Basel, and Strasbourg interceded for Guldin with the Zürich council when he broke his oath never to return; they say he "is thoroughly converted," and emphasize that they "have never heard anyone so fundamentally converted and with so strong a confession of his error."

Guldin gave information concerning the fanaticism of the St. Gall Anabaptists to Johannes Kessler for his Sabbata, which was used as a principal source for the study of the Anabaptist movement in St. Gall well into the 19th century.

In 1535 Guldin took part in the military campaign of Charles V against Tunisia. His notes are found in Vadian's correspondence; Kessler also printed them in part.


Egli, Emil. Actensammlung zur Geschichte der Zürcher Reformation in den Jahren 1519-1533. Zürich: J. Schabelitz, 1879: No. 1636;

Egli, Emil. Die Züricher Wiedertäufer zur Reformationszeit: nach den Quellen des Staatsarchivs. Zürich: Friedrich Schulthess, 1878.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 197.

Kessler, Johannes, Emil Egli, and Rudolf Schoch. Johannes Kesslers Sabbata mit kleineren Schriften und Briefen. St. Gallen: Fehr'sche Buchh. (vormals Huber & Co.), 1902: 158.

Muralt, Leonhard von and Walter Schmid. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer in der Schweiz, I. Band: Zürich. Zürich: S. Hirzel, 1952: passim.

Schwarzenbach, J. "Zu den St. Galler Täufern." Zwingliana: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte Zwinglis und der Reformation II (1905) 19 f.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1956

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Hege, Christian. "Guldin, Nikolaus (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 21 Jul 2018.,_Nikolaus_(16th_century)&oldid=146458.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1956). Guldin, Nikolaus (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 July 2018, from,_Nikolaus_(16th_century)&oldid=146458.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 610. All rights reserved.

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