Hugwald, Ulrich (1496-1571)

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Ulrich Hugwald, a native of Wylen near Bischofszell in the canton of Thurgau, Switzerland, was a student under Vadian and matriculated at the University of Basel in 1519. As a proofreader in the print shop of Adam Petri in Basel, he published three Latin works: Dialogus studiorum suorum prooemium et militiae initium, Ad sanctam Tigurinam ecclesiam epistola (1521), and Tres epistolae, quarum ultima legunt qui hodie Euangelistas persequuntur et caveant, ne lacessitus ad arma deposita redeat (1521). Calvary's statement (Verzeichnis 9 and 28) that these books show that already at that early period he was a follower of Denck and the Strasbourg Anabaptists is chronologically impossible. Paul Burckhardt correctly says that in these pompous writings there is no trace of old-evangelical heresy. They are rather the ideas of Erasmus; i.e., a blending of humanism with the Gospel. In 1522 Hugwald published a booklet, An alle, die Christum oder das Reich Gottes von Herzen suchen (Clemen 72 and Wernle 266). The same year saw the publication, without his knowledge, of 134 theses by him under the title, Est tibi lector brevissimo compendio per U. H., unde hominum perditio, in quoque sit eorum salus. . . . Theses 42-46 deal with baptism. Hugwald vigorously defends infant baptism. He wrote the foreword to several booklets of Luther's, showing himself to be an enthusiastic adherent of the German reformer, whereas he never formed an attachment to Zwingli (Wernle 265).

At the end of 1524 or the beginning of 1525 Hugwald joined the Anabaptists, and was baptized. He seems to have attached himself to Thomas Müntzer when the latter made a brief visit to Basel. "It is extremely instructive to follow the road that leads from glowing love for Luther to Anabaptism," writes Wernle. At an Anabaptist meeting in the home of Michel Schürer, a tailor of Freiburg, he was seized with 25 others, and released on 23 August 1525, upon an oath of Urfehde "in the best and strongest form." He remained for a time an adherent of the Anabaptists, abandoned his scholarly career and took up turning and agricultural tasks, but then left them, became a schoolmaster at Burg and later professor at the University of Basel.


Burckhardt, Paul. Die basler Täufer: ein Beitrag zur schweizerischen Reformationsgeschichte.   Basel: R. Reich, Buchhandlung, vorm. C. Detloff, 1898.

Clemen, O. "Der Wiedertäufer Ulrich Hugwald." Beiträge zur Reformationsgeschichte II (1902): 45-85.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff.  Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 363 f.

Keller, Ludwig. Die Reformation und die älteren Reformparteien : in ihrem Zusammenhange dargestellt. Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1885: 374.

Verzeichnis seltener und wertvoller Werke aus dem antiquarischen Lager von S. Calvary & Co. in Berlin. Berlin, 1870.

Wernle, Paul. "[Article]." Basler Zeitschrift (1918): 255, 265 ff., and 286.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1956

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Neff, Christian. "Hugwald, Ulrich (1496-1571)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 31 Jul 2021.,_Ulrich_(1496-1571)&oldid=118979.

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Neff, Christian. (1956). Hugwald, Ulrich (1496-1571). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 July 2021, from,_Ulrich_(1496-1571)&oldid=118979.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 836. All rights reserved.

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