Hofmeister, Sebastian (1476-1533)

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sebastian Hofmeister, born 1476 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, a Barefoot Friar, took his doctor's degree in Paris, and early advocated and promoted the Reformation in Schaffhausen. He took part in both of the Zürich disputations in 1523, in the second as chairman. Like Zwingli he wavered on the question of baptism in early 1525. Conrad Grebel tried to win both Hofmeister and his colleague Dr. Sebastian Meyer, pastor in Schaffhausen, to Anabaptism by personal discussion in Hofmeister's home in late January or early February 1525, when he spent the two months of February and March in the city (Bender). Johannes Brötli tells in a letter of March 1525 to the brethren in Zollikon how he, Reublin, and Grebel were guests of the two doctors one evening, and declared that "Doctor Sebastian agrees with us in the matter of baptism." Felix Manz also visited Hofmeister in Schaffhausen. The attempts were, however, not ultimately successful. Hubmaier states in his book (1526), Der alten und neuen Lehrer Urteil . . . that Hofmeister had written him, "We were not ashamed to testify openly before the council of Schaffhausen, that our brother Zwingli strays from the goal and does not walk in accordance with the truth of the Gospel if he wants the infants to be baptized" (Bächtold). In his testimony as a witness in the Anabaptist trial of 1525 Hofmeister said that he rebuked Grebel and showed him by proofs from the Scripture that he erred and was mistaken (Egli). In Schaffhausen the Catholic party won the upper hand in the peasant revolts of 1524-1525. Hofmeister was considered a fomenter of disturbances. In August 1525 the council sent him to the University of Basel to be examined on his (Catholic) orthodoxy. On 10 August 1525 the council wrote to the university that Hofmeister had often preached from the pulpit that the Mass was an invention of the devil, and that infant baptism was not valid (Bächtold).

Hofmeister was not questioned in Basel and was not permitted to return to his home town. He found reception in Zürich. There he conducted the disputation with the Anabaptists of 6-8 November 1525. He was considered an exceptional debater. In 1528 he was called to Bern and given the assignment to introduce the Reformation in Zofingen. On 19 April 1531, he was again in Bern as a debater in the disputation with Hans Pfistermeyer of Aarau, probably having been appointed by the council. He and the other preachers succeeded in bringing about Pfistermeyer's recantation. Hofmeister's influence at the disputation of Zofingen, 1-9 July 1532, was no doubt also outstanding. Since the records of this debate merely name the preachers and Anabaptists, the personal position of individuals cannot be ascertained (see Kaspar Grossmann). Hofmeister died in Zofingen, 26 September 1533.


Bächtold, C. A. "Die Schaffhauser Wiedertäufer." Beiträge zur vaterländischen Geschichte No. 7 (1900).

Bender, Harold Stauffer. Conrad Grebel, c. 1498-1526: the founder of the Swiss Brethren sometimes called Anabaptists. Goshen, Ind.: Mennonite Historical Society, 1950.

Bloesch article in Herzog, J. J. and Albert Hauck, Realencyclopedie für Protestantische Theologie and Kirche. 3. ed. Leipzig: J. H. Hinrichs, 1896-1913: VIII, 241 f.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff.  Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 335.

Kirchhofer, M. Seb. Wagner genannt Hofmeister. Zürich, 1808.

Wipf, J. "Sebastian Hofmeister, der Reformator Schafthausens" Beiträge zur vaterländischen Geschichte (1918).

Author(s) Leonhard von Muralt
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Muralt, Leonhard von. "Hofmeister, Sebastian (1476-1533)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 29 Sep 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hofmeister,_Sebastian_(1476-1533)&oldid=120725.

APA style

Muralt, Leonhard von. (1956). Hofmeister, Sebastian (1476-1533). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 September 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hofmeister,_Sebastian_(1476-1533)&oldid=120725.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 785. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.