Linck, Wenzeslaus (1483-1547)

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Wenzeslaus Linck (Link), (born 8 January 1483), was one of the leading German theologians of the Reformation period. He was born at Colditz, Saxony, took his doctorate in theology in 1511, and in 1520 he succeeded Johann von Staupitz as vicar general of the Augustinian order in Germany; on 28 January 1523, he became a Protestant preacher in Altenburg, in 1525 became chaplain at the abbey of St. Catherine at Nürnberg. He was one of the first Lutheran clergymen called by the council of Nürnberg to introduce the Reformation there.

In Nürnberg Linck opposed the Anabaptists. In connection with the orders previously issued by the mayor and the council he published a pamphlet without stating the year or his name with the title, Grundtliche Unterrichtung eines erbarn Rats der Statt Nürmberg, in which he gives warning of the seductive doctrine of the Anabaptists and also instructs the pastors in the town and in the country how they "shall most faithfully admonish and instruct the people in their sermons from the Holy Scriptures." Since this pamphlet mentions the death of Hans Hut, which took place on 6 December 1527, it was probably printed early in 1528; it contained 40 pages. A revised and enlarged edition followed. In it the author tries to defend infant baptism and several other doctrines of his church against the objections of the Anabaptists. His method of proof is often quite naive. The booklet is a graphic example of the nature of the struggle the theologians of the 16th century waged against the Anabaptists.

On the question of punishment of the Anabaptists Linck was uncertain when his colleague Andreas Osiander advocated their execution to the council of Nürnberg. He therefore turned to Luther, who advised against capital punishment on 14 July 1528, "even if the punishment was well-deserved." He was frightened by the conclusion which might be drawn from the application of such procedure. The Protestants would also be hit by it, "as we see before our eyes, that the papists in abuse of their spiritual right have shed innocent blood which they called guilty." But Luther considered exile from the country as an appropriate punishment.

Linck died 12 March 1547 at Nürnberg.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 656 f.

Rotermund, H. Fortsetzung und Ergänzung zu Chistian Gottlieb Jöchers allgemeinem. Gelehrten-Lexikon III (1810) Col. 1854; a reprint is found in G. A. Will's Beiträge zur fränkischen Kirchen-Historie (Nürnberg, 1770, pp. 229-320), as well as in the stereotype edition of this book in 1773, with the title, Beyträge zur Geschichte des Anabaptismus in Deutschland.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Linck, Wenzeslaus (1483-1547)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 17 Aug 2022.,_Wenzeslaus_(1483-1547)&oldid=146569.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1957). Linck, Wenzeslaus (1483-1547). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 August 2022, from,_Wenzeslaus_(1483-1547)&oldid=146569.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 347-348. All rights reserved.

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