Knonau (Kanton Zürich, Switzerland)

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Knonau was a magistracy in the canton of Zürich, Switzerland, in which there were many Anabaptists in the 16th century. Complaints about their numbers produced renewed sharp mandates to punish them. On 3 April 1589 the Anabaptists presented to the magistrate of Knonau a document drawn up by Andreas Gut of Affoltern with the request to send it to the council and theologians of the city of Zürich. In it they give the reasons for their attitude toward the government and their views on the institutions of the church. Soon afterward they presented a second, very detailed "Supplication to the burgomaster and the council of the city of Zürich by a few Anabaptists," which they call a "simple confession." In it they discuss five questions: the reasons for the great division, the evaluation of the Old Testament in comparison with the New, their position on government and on accepting worldly office, and baptism. This was evidently a very important document (Bergmann, 62-64).

On 17 August 1636 a disputation was held in Knonau, which was attended by 36 of the 58 Swiss Brethren living under the jurisdiction of Knonau. It was futile. The Swiss Brethren were then to send in individual answers in a short time. This happened on 26 September 1636. The document was drawn up by the Swiss Brethren preacher, Rudolf Egli, and carried 20 signatures. The signers were seized, but were released by the wife of the magistrate. Yet the pressure was not eased. Their property was confiscated, causing great consternation and resistance. The Swiss Brethren emigrated, many of them to the Palatinate. In a short time Anabaptism was completely suppressed in Knonau.


Bergmann, C. Die Tauferbewegung im Kanton Zürich bis 1600. Leipzig, 1916.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 515.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Knonau (Kanton Zürich, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 15 Nov 2018.,_Switzerland)&oldid=145588.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1957). Knonau (Kanton Zürich, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 November 2018, from,_Switzerland)&oldid=145588.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 209. All rights reserved.

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