Spittelmaier, Hans (16th century)

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Hans Spittelmaier, early Anabaptist leader in Moravia, of whom we hear only in the Hutterite Chronicle. Neither his origin nor his end is known. He seems not to have been related to his contemporary Ambrosius Spittelmayr; the name is Bavarian-Austrian and quite common. In 1527 Hans was ordained minister of the new Anabaptist congregation in Nikolsburg, Moravia, which was under the leadership of Balthasar Hubmaier and protected by the two manorial lords of Nikolsburg, Hans and (his uncle) Leonhard Liechtenstein. At the great debate of 1527 between Hubmaier and Hans Hut, Spittelmaier took sides with Hubmaier, mainly by favoring the use of the sword by Christians and the paying of war taxes. When Hubmaier went to Vienna in 1528 (to be martyred eventually), Spittelmaier took his place as the leader of the entire congregation. Soon this congregation grew by newcomers such as Jakob Wideman, Philipp Plener, and Gabriel Ascherham. Spittelmaier preached publicly the Hubmaier doctrine concerning the sword (at least that is what the Chronicle reports). Thereupon, in 1528, a large section under the leadership of Jakob Wideman separated from Spittelmaier and his followers, since they could not possibly tolerate this "principle of the sword." From now on there were two "peoples" in Nikolsburg: the Stäbler (staff bearers, more correctly bearers of canes), nonresistant and strictly pacifist, who were not willing to support war even in the face of the Turkish danger (the Turks were besieging Vienna in 1529), and the Schweitzer (sword bearers, more correctly those who tolerated the use of the sword), Spittelmaier and Leonhard Liechtenstein. As the latter could not achieve a reconciliation and unification, Lord Liechtenstein expelled them from his territory. Nothing further is known of Spittelmaier.


Loserth, Johann. Doctor Balthasar Hubmaier und die Anfänge der Wiederlaufe in Mähren, Brunn; 1893.

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit. Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943.

Author(s) Robert Friedman
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Friedman, Robert. "Spittelmaier, Hans (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Spittelmaier,_Hans_(16th_century)&oldid=85175.

APA style

Friedman, Robert. (1959). Spittelmaier, Hans (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Spittelmaier,_Hans_(16th_century)&oldid=85175.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 599. All rights reserved.

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