Tauber, Caspar (d. 1524)

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Caspar Tauber, a wealthy and respected citizen of Vienna, the first Lutheran martyr of Austria, whose valiant confession of his faith was praised by the Anabaptists although he was not one of them. Tauber was summoned to the court with two other persons on a charge of spreading heresy and reading Lutheran books. Although he defended himself brilliantly in a public debate Ferdinand had him arrested. The heresy court as well as the clergy tried to lead him to recantation. A supposed recantation by Tauber was actually published, but it was repudiated by his coreligionists. He apparently did consent to withdraw certain "errors." The charges against him were that he denied the real presence of Christ in the communion, rejected all the blessings and ceremonies of the (Catholic) Church, denied the existence of purgatory, repudiated the confessional, denied the intercession of the saints, and believed in the priesthood of all believers. These beliefs he is said to have recanted in a document he signed on 27 August 1524. When, however, he was brought before the officials to make a public recantation he refused to do so and was consequently executed 12 September 1524. The Geschichts-Bücher report his martyrdom as follows: "In the year 1525 (correct to 1524) Kaspar Tauber of Vienna was burned for the sake of the Gospel. He was led out before daybreak, first decapitated, and then burned. A report claimed that he had given the executioner money to pierce him thrice as though he had pierced himself (suicide). He confessed the faith joyfully, regardless of wife, property, and money."

Luther reckoned Tauber among the first martyrs of the Gospel but Ottius rated him as one of the "factious people," while Cochlaus rated him several degrees lower. The Anabaptists placed him in their martyrologies. A hymn on Tauber's martyrdom was published in 1525 under the title Ain christenlich Lied des bewainlichen todes Caspar Taubers genannt, Bürgers zu Wien . . . Gedicht im Jahr 1525, reprinted in Wackernagel, Kirchenlied III, 436-38, with the beginning line, "Nun hört, ich will euch singen aus trauriklichem Müt." Wolkan (Lieder, 285) mistakenly lists it as one of the hymns of the German Anabaptists. It does not appear in the Ausbund or the Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder. Tauber appears in the Chronik but before the beginning of the Anabaptist history. The Catholics labeled him as an Anabaptist to discredit him.


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om 't getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, 1685: Part II, 2.

Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 414. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 282-283.

Loesche, Georg. Geschichte des Protestantismus in Oesterreich. 3rd ed. Vienna and Leipzig, 1930: 64.

Nicoladoni, A. Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 37: 423-29.

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit. Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943: 43.

Author(s) Johann Loserth
Harold S. Bender
Date Published 1959

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Loserth, Johann and Harold S. Bender. "Tauber, Caspar (d. 1524)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 13 Aug 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tauber,_Caspar_(d._1524)&oldid=146286.

APA style

Loserth, Johann and Harold S. Bender. (1959). Tauber, Caspar (d. 1524). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 August 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tauber,_Caspar_(d._1524)&oldid=146286.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 684-685. All rights reserved.

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