Sebastian Franck in Strasbourg


     Abstract: Pilgram Marpeck's confrontation with the Spiritualizers in Strasbourg between 1529 and 1531 is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the early Anabaptist movement. This study approaches this conflict from the perspective of a prominent, but frequently overlooked, participant: the Spiritualist reformer Sebastian Franck. It looks at the importance of this event for the development of Franck's distinctive brand of Spiritualism. It also examines the significance for the history of early Anabaptism of the participation of a "programmatic Spiritualist" such as Franck in these debates, suggesting that early Anabaptist leaders developed their reforming visions not only in dialogue with the magisterial reformers, but also with a vibrant Spiritualist movement.

     Recently historians of Anabaptism and the Radical Reformation have been paying increasing attention to events in Strasbourg at the end of the 1520s and beginning of the 1530s, arguing for their significance to the subsequent development of Anabaptism and other dissenting religious traditions. Among scholars of Anabaptism, James Stayer has described Strasbourg at this time as, after Moravia, "the major Anabaptist center," and Arnold Snyder has argued that "Strasbourg occupies a unique and central place in the development of the Anabaptist movement."[1]  Scholars of other dissenting religious traditions are no less enthusiastic. Emmet McLaughlin, a leading authority on the Spiritualist reformer Caspar Schwenkfeld, has characterized the imperial city as the "showplace of religious radicalism in Europe and the catchbasin of dissidents in Germany."[2]  Such claims are not without basis. For a number of social, political and economic reasons, Strasbourg became a favored meeting place for Anabaptists and other religious dissenters in the second and third decades of the sixteenth century. During this time such prominent Anabaptists as Michael Sattler, Hans Denck, Hans Hut, Melchior Hoffman and Pilgram Marpeck took up residence in or passed through the city. One opponent of the Anabaptists claimed that at the height of the movement around 1530 there were as many as 2,000 Anabaptists in the city. Furthermore, the Anabaptist presence was supplemented by a wealth of other dissenting traditions. In addition to the indigenous "Gardeners" under the leadership of Clemens Ziegler, the list of visitors to the city during these years reads like a who's who of religious dissenters: Michael Servetus, Caspar Schwenkfeld, Sebastian Franck, Andreas Karlstadt, Johann Campanus, Martin Cellarius, Johannes B]derlin and Christian Entfelder all visited or resided for some time in the city. At the same time the Strasbourg presses of Beck and Cammerlander poured forth a torrent of radical and dissenting works.[3] 

     At the center of much current interest into Strasbourg's religious history is a polemical campaign spanning the years 1529 to 1531, carried on between Pilgram Marpeck and his opponents, the so-called Geister-Spiritualists or Spiritualizers. During the summer of 1531 Marpeck wrote two tracts against those he described as "going out from among us, but as not being of us": A Clear Refutation and A Clear and Useful Instruction. These pamphlets contain a detailed defense of the reinstitution of certain ceremonies, practices and sacraments thought to have been current in the apostolic church against the claims of those who, arguing for a completely spiritualized church, called for the abrogation of such externals as the source of division and infighting in the Christian community.

     This paper approaches the events in Strasbourg in 1530 and 1531 from a perspective outside the focus of recent research. It concentrates on an often overlooked, but I would argue important, participant in these events: Sebastian Franck. Surviving evidence suggests that Franck made no direct polemical contribution to the conflicts between Marpeck and the Geister. Yet his published works from this period indicate that he held strong opinions on the matters under debate and that he was willing to voice these views publicly. An awareness of Franck's place in these debates has important consequences for our understanding of his intellectual development. Klaus Deppermann and Emmet McLaughlin have highlighted the significance of the heady atmosphere of Strasbourg in the 1530s for the developing thought of Melchior Hoffman and Caspar Schwenkfeld respectively. A similar analysis of the importance of his Strasbourg interlude for the evolution of Franck's thought, however, is still wanting.[4]  One crucial issue in the interpretation of Franck's developing thought is whether or not Franck passed through an Anabaptist phase enroute to his particularly individualist variant of Spiritualism. James Stayer, who has examined the Anabaptist/Spiritualist debates from the broader perspective of the Radical Reformation, has suggested that at this time Spiritualists, who had earlier immersed themselves in the Anabaptist movements, now began to reappear as a distinct group.[5]  Was Franck then one of these re-emergent Spiritualists?

     The answer to this question has direct bearing on a second theme which more directly addresses recent research into Strasbourg Anabaptism. Franck is often described as a "programmatic Spiritualist" at the time of his arrival in Strasbourg in late 1529 or early 1530.[6]  What is the significance of the involvement of a "programmatic Spiritualist" in these debates?

     William Klassen, who first identified Marpeck as the author of A Clear Refutation and A Clear and Useful Instruction, saw among Marpeck's opponents some of the most prominent advocates of sixteenth-century Spiritualism. The first of these tracts, Klassen argued, was directed against Johannes B]derlin, a former Anabaptist with strongly spiritualist inclinations, although Klassen allowed that Sebastian Franck may also have been an intended target. He saw the second tract as directed against the prominent Spiritualist, Caspar Schwenkfeld.[7]  In both cases Klassen assumed that this exchange involved a conflict between distinct Anabaptist and Spiritualist movements.[8]  More recent interpretations, however, have tended to regard this debate much more as an internal Anabaptist matter. Noting that Schwenkfeld and Marpeck remained on friendly terms into the early 1540s, scholars now identify Marpeck's chief opponents as B]derlin and another former Anabaptist, Christian Entfelder, although they concede that some of Marpeck's barbs might also have been directed at Schwenkfeld, Franck or Melchior Hoffman.[9]  Scholars now generally regard Marpeck's A Clear Refutation as a response primarily to B]derlin's Explanation through Study of the Biblical Writings, that Water Baptism and All Other External Ceremonies Used in the Apostolic Church Are Currently Being Reintroduced without God's Command or the Testimony of Scripture, and they view his A Clear Instruction as an answer to Entfelder's On the Many Divisions in the Faith, both of which appeared in 1530.

     Behind this revision lies an assumption that, at least during the early years of the Reformation, the lines dividing Spiritualists from Anabaptists were not as firm or clearly defined as traditional scholarship has suggested. More recent interpreters of Anabaptism have begun to treat Spiritualism less as an independent movement and more as an underlying principle directed against the externalization of religion which ran throughout the Reformation. The differences between people like Sebastian Franck and Caspar Schwenkfeld on one side and the supposedly more biblicist Anabaptists on the other are treated more as matters of degree than of kind.[10]  From this perspective, the conflict in Strasbourg appears as an early, albeit crucially important, stage in the gradual evolution of distinct biblicist/Anabaptist and Spiritualist groups. Of note is the fact that, at this stage, matters of debate centered on questions of "ordinances and ceremonies, ecclesiology and practice" and that only later did debates about the relative value of Scripture and Spirit develop.[11]  This interpretation has significantly highlighted the importance of the Strasbourg debates for the development of Anabaptism; and Werner Packull's recent research on the broader geographical context for the debates has further reinforced their wider significance for the development of Anabaptism.[12]  But this focus on the events in Strasbourg as a primarily Anabaptist affair has also led historians of Reformation Spiritualism to cede, for the most part, this area to Anabaptist studies. In his study of Schwenkfeld's relationship to other radicals in Strasbourg, Emmet McLaughlin reiterated the more traditional interpretation of these events when he suggested that Spiritualism at this time deserves to be treated as a distinct movement.[13]  The apparent contradiction between these two lines of interpretation, however, may not be as sharp as it initially appears. It is possible to treat Spiritualism as a common, underlying principle shared by a number of distinct groups within the Reformation, and yet to identify as a distinct group those whose commitment to a radically Spiritualist reform agenda attained the status of a distinct program. For reasons which will become clear, concentration on Franck's role in these debates is a useful supplement to the more common focus on Schwenkfeld as the representative Spiritualist in Strasbourg.


     Franck's apparent lack of direct contribution to the debates of 1530 and 1531, coupled with the recent focus on them as primarily conflicts within Anabaptism, has shifted attention away from his place and role in those debates. William Klassen had made Franck a participant in the debates at least implicitly by connecting him closely with Hans B]derlin.[14]  Subsequently, however, Franck's role has been toned down even more. The realization that Schwenkfeld was not primary among Marpeck's opponents seems to have minimized Franck's profile as well. Stephen Boyd remains somewhat ambiguous about Franck's role, although in the end he suggests that Franck's break with Marpeck, like Schwenkfeld's, came some time after the period in question.[15]  This interpretation, combined with the qualified praise of and appeals for toleration for the Anabaptists contained in Franck's writings, has led to an increase in characterizations of Franck as a friend of the Anabaptists. Mennonite historians have long regarded Franck as at least an "objective chronicler" of early Anabaptism.[16]  More recently, James Stayer has described Franck, along with Schwenkfeld, as deploring the persecution of Anabaptists and aspiring to a mediating position between them and the Strasbourg pastors.[17] 

     The realization that the debates in Strasbourg focused initially more on issues of church practice than questions of Scripture and Spirit has significant implications for our understanding of Franck's relationship to these debates. Franck's clearest contemporary statement on these matters comes from his oft-cited letter to John Campanus. Written in 1531, likely at the beginning of the year, this work stands temporally in the middle of Marpeck's controversy with the Geister.[18]  Most interpreters of Franck's writings see in this letter a statement of Franck's mature views on a number of issues and one of the clearest descriptions of a fully developed spiritualist ecclesiology.[19]  Yet to date little attention has been paid to the context in which it was written, i.e. Marpeck's debates with the Geister.

     Internal evidence from the letter to Campanus suggests that Franck was following Marpeck's debate with the Geister closely, if, in fact, he were not a direct participant in it. In the concluding section of the letter he recommends not only B]derlin's writings, but the man personally to Campanus.[20]  The nature of the endorsement-that Franck will attempt to send B]derlin in person to Campanus-suggests that a close personal relationship may have existed between Franck and B]derlin. Furthermore, the text of the letter indicates that Franck had full knowledge of the matters at issue in the debate and that he held strongly spiritualist opinions on these matters. In fact, Franck's letter is plausibly read as a contribution to the debate. At the center of his admonitions to Campanus are the themes of Marpeck's debate. As Franck himself summarized the issues:

     To be brief, my dear brother Campanus, that I may say it in summary fashion and openly and be understood by thee, I maintain against all ecclesiastical authorities that all outward things and ceremonies, which were customary in the church of the apostles, have been done away with and are not to be reinstituted, although many without authorization or calling undertake to restore on their own the degenerated sacraments.[21] 

     Like Entfelder and B]derlin, Franck sees evidence of the church's demise in the post-apostolic disunity in Christianity and ties this break-down in unity to an undue emphasis on the literal text of Scripture.[22]  Furthermore, as do the Geister, Franck roots his argument for the abrogation of apostolic ceremonies in a distinct interpretation of ecclesiastical history. He shares with them the belief that the visible church fell shortly after the deaths of the apostles. Franck seems to deviate slightly from the arguments of Entfelder and B]derlin in emphasizing the formulation of doctrinal absolutes rather than the adherence to specific sacramental forms as the primary means of perversion, but otherwise his analysis of the fall of the primitive church and its implications for subsequent salvation history are remarkably similar.[23]  They share the perception that the institution of external ceremonies and sacraments in the apostolic church was a concession to an age not yet prepared for a completely spiritual religion.[24]  After the deaths of the apostles these ceremonies and sacraments were taken over and perverted by the Antichrist; the true church, along with its sacraments and ceremonies, became spiritual and invisible. Therefore, the apostolic ceremonies must be done away with, in the same way that the Old Testament ceremonies were abrogated with the institution of the new covenant.[25]  Consequently, the apostolic ceremonies can be reinstituted only with an explicit call from God.[26] 

     There has been a tendency in the past to identify the objects of Franck's criticism in this letter as the magisterial Reformers.[27]  And there is certainly evidence to reinforce such an interpretation. This is clearest in Franck's denunciations of those who would introduce compulsion into matters of belief and his direct reference to Luther as one who errs in his strict biblical literalism.[28]  Furthermore, Franck seems to indicate that on certain important issues he shares the beliefs and opinions of the Anabaptists. Early in the letter he identifies the conversion of apostolic baptism into pedobaptism as a sure sign that the primitive church had departed from the true path.[29]  Nonetheless, it is clear that he numbers the Anabaptists among those who are reinstituting apostolic practices without divine sanction. In support of his reiteration of the central argument of Entfelder and B]derlin-that the restitution of ceremonies is the cause of divisions in the unified church of Christ-Franck refers to the existence of four distinct baptisms in Western Europe: the Papist, Lutheran, Zwinglian and Anabaptist. And elsewhere he describes those who "baptize on their own authority and gather the scattered church as veritable servants of the Antichrist."[30] 

     The other source for Franck's opinions during his stay in Strasbourg is his best known and most intensively studied work: the Chronica or Geschichtsbibel. Of particular value for our purposes is book two of the third chronicle of this massive compendium of world history: The Chronicle of Heretics.[31]  Like the Campanus letter, this work came to light in the midst of the Strasbourg debates; it was published in Strasbourg in September 1531, although it may have been at press for up to a year before that.[32]  Franck was probably directly involved in the process of typesetting and printing this work, and therefore the opinions expressed in it likely reflect his responses to happenings in Strasbourg in the second half of 1530 and first half of 1531.[33]  This suspicion is supported by the fact that Franck actually makes reference to debates similar to that carried on between Marpeck and the Geister on at least three occasions in the third chronicle of the Chronica.[34] 

     The Chronica is frequently cited as evidence of Frank's impartial and even sympathetic treatment of the Anabaptists. Certainly, at times in this work Franck does indicate sympathy with the ideals of the Anabaptists and respect for their lives. This probably is clearest in his presentation of the martyrdoms of Michael Sattler and other early Anabaptist victims of persecution.[35]  Elsewhere, Franck indicates his sympathy with some of the central teachings of the Anabaptists. For example, he musters an array of evidence from the sources of the ancient church in support of adult baptism.[36]  And when discussing central theological tenets ascribed to the Anabaptists-for example their teaching on predestination and freedom of the will-his avowed impartiality fades and he seems to endorse the Anabaptist position in his own voice.[37]  But Franck's sympathy for the Anabaptists is likely clearest in his repeated appeals for toleration for the movement. This is a recurring theme throughout the presentation of Anabaptism in The Chronicle of Heretics. Franck denies the legitimacy of religious persecution, arguing that it introduces compulsion into matters of belief which, by definition, must remain free. Furthermore, he argues that religious persecution is ineffectual and only engenders sympathy for the Anabaptists, and he warns the persecutors of the Anabaptists to be careful, lest they end up with the blood of Christ on their hands.[38] 

     Yet, as many of Franck's interpreters have noted, his praise of his contemporaries is rarely unqualified. In fact, his treatment of the Anabaptists is integral to the underlying theme of The Chronicle of Heretics. In the preface to this work, Franck warns his readers that the title is meant ironically. Those included in the register are not necessarily heretics according to Franck's criteria, but have been judged so by the Roman Church. In fact, many of them might be more justly honored as saints.[39]  Nonetheless, as Christoph De Jung has noted, the portrayal of individuals and groups in The Chronicle of Heretics amounts to more than a simple reversal of appraisals.[40]  In other words, those included as heretics are not automatically to be counted as members of the true, invisible church. Rather, Franck's purpose is to highlight the fallacy of all existing organized churches through an appeal to their mutual exclusivity and denunciations. To understand Franck's intentions in this work, we need to look at his definition of heresy and its application to the Anabaptists. In the process, this will provide us with invaluable information about his relationship to the Anabaptist-Spiritualist debates and will give us some insight into their significance for the development of his thought.

     At the conclusion of his register of heretics, and immediately after the lengthy article on the Anabaptists, Franck launched into a definition of heresy and then mustered an array of opinions against the persecution of the heretics. Particularly interesting for our purposes is his definition. Developing an etymological analysis of the Greek root of the term "heresy," Franck defines the term primarily as "separatism" or "sectarianism." It applies first and foremost to those who rend Christian unity under the guise of-and with the help of-an idiosyncratic reading of the Gospel.[41]  Franck's frequent denunciations of sectarianism throughout the text of The Chronicle of Heretics, and in many of his other works, indicate the sincerity of this definition.[42]  Equally important for our purposes is Franck's identification of the root of all sectarianism in Biblical literalism and the consequent obsession with ceremonies and the externals of religion. Already in the preface to the third chronicle of the Chronica, in which The Chronicle of Heretics is contained, Franck makes this point clearly.[43]  And in his definition of heresy he reiterates it even more forcefully, directly contrasting sectarian, outward divisions with the true, spiritual church which is unified:

     [Heretic] means not an external enemy, but a Judas among the Apostles, a secret foe in the house of God, a wolf among the sheep and flock of Christ, who wishes to be called brother, and yet tears asunder the spiritual unity of the church, and establishes his own direction. In summary, under the name and title of Christ and the Gospel he believes and teaches against Christ and the Gospel, and develops his own following which then becomes a special church, a sect, an alternate way, a separate teaching. And these are especially those who, with their own ceremonies, bind the invisible, spiritual gifts of God to external elemental things of this world, whether of time, person, ceremonies, orders, and do not allow the spiritual assembly to remain free in the spirit, and bound alone to God's invisible Word.

     In other words, the basic criteria for Franck's definition of heresy are the very matters at issue in the debate between Marpeck and the Geister. And these criteria, and Franck's denunciation of them, appear repeatedly throughout The Chronicle of Heretics.

     Of course, Franck's criticism of sectarianism as the outgrowth of literalism and an obsession with externals is applicable not only to the Anabaptists. In his introduction to the third chronicle, he underlines this connection with reference to contemporary religious divisions by noting distinctions between Jews and Greeks, Papists and Lutherans, Zwinglians and Anabaptists.[44]  Clearly, the denunciation of obsession with the dead letter of Scripture and with the externals of religion applies equally well to the Catholics and magisterial Reformers as it does to the Anabaptists. And Franck's repeated disparaging comments about the Schriftgelehrten in The Chronicle of Heretics indicate that he intended such criticism.[45]  But repeatedly, when making the case for the connections among Biblical literalism, obsession with externals and the splintering of the Christian community, Franck draws on the example of the Anabaptists. In the preface to the third chronicle, they appear as a clear example that sectarian groups are especially prone to further disintegration. In fact, he claims that there are so many divisions among the Anabaptists that he does not know what to say about all of them.[46]  And in his entry on the Antichrist, he again drives home the point about literalism, ceremonies and sectarianism with the example of Anabaptist obsession with the sacrament of baptism and its correct application.[47] 

     Not surprisingly, when Franck turns his attention specifically to the Anabaptists, the charge of sectarianism is a frequent refrain. It appears, in fact, as if this is a particular vice of the Anabaptists. Franck introduces his discussion of the Anabaptists in The Chronicle of Heretics with direct reference to their biblicism and sectarianism:

     In the year 1526, immediately in and after the peasant rebellion, there arose out of the letter of Scripture a new sect and distinct church, which some call the Anabaptists and some the Baptists. They began to separate themselves from all others with a special baptism and regarded all other communities as unchristian."[48] 

     When praising the teachings or lives of Anabaptists, he adds that he only wishes that they could advance thus in the Spirit without their sectarian impulse.[49]  Elsewhere in the entry he openly denounces the sectarianism of the Anabaptist groups and in each case connects it to their Biblical literalism and ceremonialism. These denunciations reach a crescendo when Franck claims in exasperation on one occasion that hardly two of the Anabaptists are of the same opinion, and on another occasion that God has actually ordained the splintering of the Anabaptist groups to open their eyes to the dangers of dogmatism.[50] 

     The preceding is in no way meant to suggest that Franck saw the Anabaptists as the worst or archetypal enemies of the true church. His statements indicating his sympathy for their plight and agreement with some of their teachings are too frequent to permit such a conclusion. Furthermore, as has been noted, Franck identified all organized religious groups, including the papist and magisterial churches, as sectarian. Nonetheless, the agreement between the criteria for heresy in The Chronicle of Heretics and the issues of debate in Marpeck's confrontation with the Geister suggest that those debates were central not only to Franck's treatment of the Anabaptists in The Chronicle of Heretics, but also integral to its purpose and intent.[51] 

     To understand fully the significance of the Strasbourg debates for the development of Franck's thought, however, we need to consider them as well in the context of Franck's writings before his arrival in Strasbourg. Of particular concern is the question of whether Franck was one of those Spiritualists who came out from under the Anabaptist umbrella at this time.


     Scholars of Franck's writings have long debated the question of whether he passed through an Anabaptist phase in his intellectual and spiritual journey from Lutheranism to Spiritualism. Ernst Troeltsch suggested that at one stage Franck experimented with Baptist fellowship, and this interpretation has subsequently won significant, although not universal, support.[52]  More recently, the possibility that Franck passed through an Anabaptist phase in his spiritual development has been reinforced by research into the evolution of his reforming thought. Horst Weigelt, for example, has argued convincingly that Franck's disaffection from the Lutheran Reformation developed in three stages: at first he criticized Luther's soteriology, then he attacked the ecclesiology of the magisterial Reformers, and finally he repudiated the basis of their entire enterprise by undermining their sola scriptura emphasis with his full-blown Spiritualist teaching on the inner word. Weigelt's interpretation implicitly allows for an Anabaptist phase in Franck's spiritual development; his early criticism of Luther's soteriology rested on a moralist foundation which derived at least in part from the imitatio theology of the south German Anabaptists.[53] 

     But what evidence is there that Franck actually submerged himself in the Anabaptist movement? The only clear statement that Franck was ever closely connected to an Anabaptist group comes from the pen of Martin Frecht, the leading Evangelical pastor and primary opponent of Franck in Ulm. In 1538, during one of his frequent campaigns to have Franck expelled from the city, Frecht claimed that about a decade earlier Franck had needed to flee the village of Gustenfelden and later Nuremberg because of his connections to the Anabaptists.[54]  But Frecht's comments were part of a smear campaign against Franck and must be treated accordingly.

     A more convincing argument for Franck's adherence to Anabaptism derives from what has traditionally been regarded as his first original publication-an expos on the baneful social effects of alcohol-thought to have been written and published in 1528, at precisely the time it has been assumed that Franck was experimenting with sectarian fellowships. Noteworthy in this work is Franck's emphasis on the need for moral regeneration within the Christian community and the role of the ban in enforcing it. Franck writes: "One should punish public vice, the preachers with the word and ban, the princes with the sword and law. For as long as the ban is not in place and applied, I know of no Gospel or Christian community to speak of. One must remove the filth from the community of God."[55]  However, the extent to which this confirms a commitment to an Anabaptist-type gathered church or Anabaptist group is questionable. Franck's appeal to the princes to uphold the morality of the community with the sword and law seems strangely out of place among Anabaptist statements of the late 1520s or early 1530s when, in the context of increasing persecution, Anabaptists were developing extensive critiques of the intrusion of the secular arm into anything approaching matters of faith. Several interpreters of Franck's writings have pointed instead to the similarities between his arguments on the use of the ban here and statements made by Luther on the same subject.[56]  The fact that Franck addressed this work to a local magistrate, Wolf von Hessberg in Colmburg, further reinforces suspicions that his model in this work was more Lutheran than Anabaptist.

     Recently further doubt has been cast on the value of this work as evidence of Franck's possible Anabaptist phase in 1528. The editors of the critical edition of Franck's works have argued that the ascription of this work to 1528 rests on a mistaken reading of the title page of one of its later editions. They claim instead that the earliest extant edition of this work actually came off the press of Steiner in Augsburg in 1531, and they surmise that Franck may have stopped in Augsburg enroute from Nuremberg to Strasbourg.[57]  The redating of this work leaves several unanswered questions, but it seriously erodes the arguments for an Anabaptist phase in Franck's development based on this text.[58]  By 1531 Franck was in the eyes of most interpreters no longer an advocate of a gathered church.

     Instead, Franck's other writings from this period of his life indicate that his thought was already developing in a distinctly Spiritualist direction. In early 1529 Franck wrote a short poem or song entitled "On the Four Divided Churches."[59]  In this work, although admitting that the Anabaptists likely follow the example of Christ more closely than do the Catholics, Lutherans or Reformed, Franck stated clearly his unwillingness to join them:

I don't want to be an Anabaptist

Their foundation is too narrow

     It rests alone on water baptism.[60] 

     He then went on to reject the claims of all of the above "sects" and warned anyone who wanted to follow Christ to flee all of them. In a work published in Nuremberg in the following year, a translation of an earlier chronicle entitled A Chronicle or Description of Turkey, Franck defined his position more clearly and laid out the themes of the letter to Campanus and the Chronica in embryonic form. His translation and additions to the existing text highlight the theme of the divisions within Christianity so central to the Campanus letter and especially The Chronicle of Heretics.[61]  In an addendum to the text he referred to three newly arisen beliefs-the Lutheran, Zwinglian and Anabaptist-and noted:

     [a] fourth is on the way, which will clear out of the way all outward preaching, ceremonies, sacraments, the ban and callings as unnecessary, and simply assemble an invisible, spiritual church in the unity of the Spirit and belief among all people, and will establish through the eternal, invisible word alone, [a church] ruled directly by God without any external means, from which the apostolic church departed shortly after the apostles.[62] 

     Here in latent form we see the central themes of the Anabaptist/Spiritualist debates and of the Campanus letter and Chronica. Philip Kintner has described The Chronicle or Description of Turkey of 1530 as the announcement of a new spiritualist church, for which the Chronica and Franck's subsequent World Book were the major apologetic treatises.[63]  Certainly, Franck himself saw this work as closely connected in purpose to the Chronica. On two occasions he referred his readers to his forthcoming Hauptchronik.[64] 

     There is no reason, then, to doubt the assertion that at the time of his arrival in Strasbourg in 1529 or 1530 Franck was already a "programmatic Spiritualist." Furthermore, it is unlikely that he was one of those Spiritualists, like B]derlin and Entfelder, who had immersed themselves in Anabaptism. This is not to say, however, that Anabaptism and the Anabaptist/Spiritualist debates were unimportant for, or peripheral to, his spiritual development. In his pre-Strasbourg writings, the relationships among Biblical literalism, ceremonialism and sectarianism, and the ecclesiology of the Spiritualist church are presented in only rudimentary forms. These themes, which occupy central positions in his Strasbourg writings and in his thought generally, were hammered into their final forms in the imperial city and in the context of the Anabaptist/Spiritualist debates.

     Awareness of this context has important implications for our understanding of the development of Franck's thought. Horst Weigelt noted that Franck's criticism of the Reformers' ecclesiology becomes prominent in 1530 or 1531 and that it first comes to the fore in the letter to Campanus and the Chronica.[65]  In other words the important transition from Franck's criticism of the Reformation's soteriology to his criticism of its ecclesiology occurred at precisely the time that he was engaged with Strasbourg's dissident community. Nonetheless, Weigelt concentrates his attention on Franck's criticism of the territorial church of the magisterial Reformers, especially the Lutheran Reformers.[66]  The logic of Weigelt's interpretation seems to be that Franck came out of a Lutheran tradition and that his thought developed in dialogue with that tradition alone. But both the Campanus letter and The Chronicle of Heretics suggest that on the crucial themes of Franck's own ecclesiology and his criticisms of other churches the dialogue was directed at least as much at the Anabaptists as at the magisterial Reformers. Furthermore, if-as Weigelt claims-the full elucidation of Franck's Spiritualism and emphasis on the Inner Word came about as an extension of his criticism of existing churches, then his supposed attack on the biblicism of the Lutheran Reformation was just as much an attack on the biblicism of the Anabaptists. As with Melchior Hoffman and Caspar Schwenkfeld, Sebastian Franck's thought matured and ripened in the hothouse of Strasbourg's dissident community.


     The fact that Franck can be characterized as a thorough-going Spiritualist at the time of his arrival in Strasbourg has further implications for our understanding of the dynamics of religious debates there. The recent approach to the Anabaptist-Spiritualist debates has yielded invaluable information on the development of the early Anabaptist movements. But the awareness of the continued friendly relations between Marpeck and Schwenkfeld into the early 1540s has obscured the strength and significance of a distinct Spiritualist movement outside Anabaptist circles.[67]  Closer attention to Franck's activities in Strasbourg can provide a necessary corrective to this tendency. In his rejection of the practices of the apostolic church, Franck was much less compromising than Schwenkfeld. For him, as for B]derlin and Entfelder, ceremonies and sacraments should be abandoned in toto, unless a new divine mandate for their restitution could be proven. By way of contrast, Schwenkfeld was much less extreme. As his spiritual journey led him from Lutheranism to Spiritualism, he increasingly de-emphasized the significance of the reform of external elements of religious life, and he more and more saw sacraments and offices as obstacles and hindrances to spiritual reform rather than its instruments.[68]  Yet he remained committed to the possibility of a restitution of the apostolic church. He looked forward to a Reformation in which the "Holy Spirit . . . plans to erect a Christian church with the correct use of the sacraments, brotherly admonition, ban, and consequent betterment of Christian living."[69] 

     The Spiritualists in Strasbourg, then, like their Anabaptist counterparts, were hardly a homogeneous group. But this diversity of opinion should not distract us from the strength of the Spiritualist position, which-contrary to recent interpretations of events in Strasbourg-was by all indications a force to be reckoned with. While Werner Packull's recent work is an invaluable benefit to our understanding of the significance of the Strasbourg debates for the development of Anabaptism, it has also distracted attention from the immediate context of those debates. To understand the full dynamics involved in them, we need to refocus our attention on the imperial city.

     An unstated assumption in most studies of religious dissent in Strasbourg is that dissidents were attracted to Strasbourg by its comparative tolerance. But for Franck, and likely other Spiritualists, the appeal of the city may have amounted to much more than that. As has been noted, in his addenda to The Chronicle or Description of Turkey, which was completed just prior to Franck's move to Strasbourg, he announced the imminent appearance of the fourth, spiritual church. It is quite possible that Franck's optimism derived from his knowledge of events in Strasbourg. Klaus Deppermann has referred to Strasbourg in the late 1520s-with good reason-as "the capital of the spiritual outlook in Germany."[70]  Until 1527 the leading Reformers in Strasbourg, Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito, were agreed on a distinctly Spiritualist interpretation of the sacraments. They denied that baptism and the eucharist were channels of grace, arguing instead that they were signs announcing the internal reception of God's gifts. In 1524 Bucer went so far as suggesting a Stillstand on the eucharist for those confused about its interpretation. And in the mid-1520s both he and Capito were at best lukewarm in their defence of pedobaptism. They admitted that the primitive church practiced adult baptism and that this practice was more in conformity with scripture than was pedobaptism. But this stance derived from a spiritualist rather than Anabaptist perspective. In his emphasis on the primacy of faith in the Christian life, Bucer distinguished between baptism by water and by the Spirit. The former he regarded as only an external form and of no efficacy in and of itself. Therefore, he concluded, disputes over the timing of baptism were irrelevant; God had stipulated no particular time for baptism. Water baptism he regarded as essentially a pedagogical act that should be administered at a convenient time and accompanied by a promise of the parents to provide Christian nurture. Finally, he allowed that demurring parents might postpone the baptism of infants.[71] 

     In 1527 Bucer and Capito parted company on a number of important matters. Bucer's theology approached more closely those of the other magisterial Reformers.[72]  Capito, however, took an independent line. The diverging opinions between the two men were clearest in the relationships with and treatment of the dissidents in Strasbourg. James Kittelson has claimed that Capito's continued tolerance of dissidents derived from a personal rather than a theological basis.[73]  More recent interpreters, however, have argued for a continued theological affinity between Capito and the dissidents.[74]  Capito's activity during this period and his surviving statements from it appear to support the latter interpretation. In 1527 Martin Cellarius was Capito's guest. The relationship between the two men witnessed among other things the publication in Strasbourg during July 1527 of Cellarius' De operibus dei with an enthusiastic foreword by Capito.[75]  De operibus contains a number of strongly spiritualist themes, including a vision of an increasing spiritualization of Christianity reminiscent of Franck's teachings.[76]  No less enthusiastic was the recommendation of Cellarius' work in Capito's own Hosea Commentary which was published the following April.[77]  This work reveals a remarkable proximity between the thought of Capito and that of Franck and other Spiritualists on a number of issues, including some of the central concerns in the debates of 1530 and 1531. Like Franck, Capito argued that at the end of the apostolic age the church had reverted to legalism and ritualism. He suggested that with the dawning of a new age ceremonies would disappear. He expressed his fear of a new dogmatism arising around him and tied this, at least implicitly, to an obsession with literalism and ceremonialism; interestingly, to drive home this point, Capito appealed to the example of the Anabaptist concern with correct baptismal practice. As a result, he strongly rejected the ex operere operato view of the sacraments and openly denounced excessive reliance upon them. He claimed that the Inner Word was necessary to solve apparent contradictions in Scripture and allowed that the "pure fear of God" may have existed among the Turks and Saracens.[78]  This work appeared then in many ways as an important preface to the events of 1530 and 1531 and it had aftershocks which were contemporary to those events. In May 1531 the notorious anti-trinitarian Michael Servetus arrived in Strasbourg. He, too, stayed with Capito, likely at the same time that Schwenkfeld was also a guest of the Strasbourg reformer. In June 1531, Servetus' On the Errors of the Trinity came off the presses, and Capito declared himself impressed with some of its elements.[79]  And if we look beyond the circle of Strasbourg's Reformers, we find further evidence of the apparent viability of establishing a Spiritualist church in the city. Indications are that the magistrates and leading citizens of Strasbourg favored the maintenance of conditions conducive for the existence of such a church. The magistracy consistently undermined the more extreme demands of Strasbourg's pastors to establish strict control over the consciences of the city's citizens. And to the left of the city authorities the so-called "Epicureans" continued to fight for religious toleration until their suppression in the 1530s.[80] 

     It is likely then that at this time Strasbourg appeared as fertile ground for the appearance of Franck's fourth way. Certainly other Spiritualists saw the imperial city in this light. In the context of preparations for the Marburg Colloquy, those with a spiritualist interpretation of the sacraments were increasingly welcome in Strasbourg. Schwenkfeld apparently expected a warm reception for his teaching on the eucharist and seems to have received it, at least initially, when he arrived in Strasbourg in May 1529.[81]  This context also helps to explain the warm reception Melchior Hoffman received at his arrival in the imperial city a month later.[82] 

     Franck is surprisingly parsimonious in his statements about Strasbourg and the Strasbourg reformation in his writings from 1530 and 1531. Aside from a statement that the Strasbourg reformers inclined more to the Zwinglian than the Lutheran reformation, he had little to say about Strasbourg's reformation in his Chronica.[83]  The names of the prominent Strasbourg reformers like Bucer, Capito and Zell do not appear in the register of heretics contained in The Chronicle of Heretics. Capito's Hosea Commentary does not appear in the inventory of Franck's books left behind at his death, although as Christoph De Jung has indicated, many works which were obviously important to Franck are conspicuous by their absence from this list.[84]  Franck does, however, cite approvingly the works of some of Capito's more notorious guests; in the Chronica he directs his readers to Cellarius' De operibus dei and in the letter to Campanus he recommends and indicates his own inclination toward Servetus' teaching on the Trinity.[85]  The reasons for Franck's silence about the Strasbourg reformers are puzzling. But we can probably assume that he knew of Capito's contemporary and Bucer's at least earlier inclination toward Spiritualism.

     Franck's gravitation to Strasbourg in 1530 was thus likely induced by more than just its reputation for tolerance. At least from a distance, Strasbourg gave the impression of providing fertile ground for the establishment of a spiritualist church. Franck's arrival in the city added a new, and as it turned out, powerful voice to the chorus of Spiritualist reformers. The existence of these voices alerts us to a little recognized dynamic in Strasbourg's reformation which had significance for the development of Anabaptism. It appears that at least initially these Spiritualist voices held an almost quasi-official sanction. James Stayer has portrayed Franck and Schwenkfeld as intervening with the city's reformers on behalf of the Anabaptists at this time.[86]  But this activity also had a flip side: with the appeal for tolerance of the Anabaptists came a campaign of proselytizing on behalf of a Spiritualist church. We know that in the fall of 1529 Schwenkfeld actively supported Capito's attempts to convert the Spiritualist/Anabaptist Jakob Kautz.[87]  Franck does not appear to have ever attained the same access to the inner circles of the Reformation or to have fulfilled this sort of semi-official role in Strasbourg's reformation. But the concluding section of the entry on Anabaptism in The Chronicle of Heretics reads very much like an appeal specifically to the Anabaptists to lay aside their sectarian divisions and join the true church of the Spirit.[88]  In this sense arguments by historians such as James Stayer and Arnold Snyder-that the presence of Schwenkfeld and Franck in Strasbourg added weight to spiritualizing tendencies within Anabaptism-need further attention. In the context of ever-increasing persecution for rebaptism and Capito's apparent sympathy with Spiritualism, the task of Anabaptist leaders such as Marpeck seems all the more daunting and their successes all the more impressive.

[*] Geoffrey Dipple is Assistant Professor of History at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD. 1. James M. Stayer, "The Radical Reformation," in Thomas A. Brady, Jr, Heiko A. Oberman and James D. Tracy, eds., Handbook of European History, vol. 2: Visions, Programs and Outcomes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 263; Arnold Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology: An Introduction (Kitchener, ON: Pandora Press, 1996), 129. Return to Text

[2] . R. Emmet McLaughlin, "Schwenkfeld and the Strasbourg Radicals," MQR 59 (July 1985), 268. Return to Text

[3] . Probably the best overview of the Strasbourg reformation during these years, its socio-political context and the place of the Radicals in it is contained in Klaus Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman: Social Unrest and Apocalyptic Visions in the Age of Reformation, trans. Malcolm Wren and ed. Benjamin Drewery (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1987), 160-203, 268-78. Other valuable discussions are contained in G. H. Williams, The Radical Reformation, 3d. ed. (Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Publishers, 1992), 363-410; Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology, 129-41; Stephen F. Nelson and Jean Rott, "Strasbourg: the Anabaptist City in the Sixteenth Century," MQR 58 (July, 1984), 230-40; Stephen Boyd, Pilgram Marpeck: His Life and Social Theology (Durham: Duke University Press, 1992), 43-51, 59-63. For a detailed study of the early years of the Anabaptist movement in Strasbourg, see Hans Werner M《ing, "The Anabaptist Movement in Strasbourg from early 1526 to July 1527," MQR 51 (April 1977), 91-126. Return to Text

[4] . See Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman, esp. 160-311; R. Emmet McLaughlin, Caspar Schwenkfeld, Reluctant Radical: His Life to 1540 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1986); idem, "Schwenkfeld and the Strasbourg Radicals," 268-78. Deppermann has made a start in this task, although his concern was more generally with Franck's stay in Strasbourg as a whole; he concentrated on indicating who Franck's acquaintances were, the nature of his writings there and the significance of his run-ins with the Strasbourg authorities for the subsequent development of his thought. See Deppermann, "Sebastian Francks Strassburger Aufenhalt, " in Jan-Dirk M〕ler, ed., Sebastian Franck (1499-1542) (Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz Verlag, 1993), 103-18. In general, treatments of Franck's thought have emphasized the importance of his Strasbourg stay for the confirmation or "ripening" of ideas developed already in Nuremberg. For a recent example, see Patrick Haydon-Roy, The Inner Word and the Outer World: A Biography of Sebastian Franck (New York: Peter Lang, 1994), 62. Return to Text

[5] . Stayer, "Radical Reformation," 263. Return to Text

[6] . Williams, Radical Reformation, 395; Boyd, Pilgram Marpeck, 60. In historical writing on the Reformation, Franck appears as a prominent representative of the Spiritualist tradition. In fact, it was in his study of Franck's thought that Alfred Hegler first coined the term "Spiritualist." See Alfred Hegler, Geist und Schrift bei Sebastian Franck: eine Studie zur Geschichte der Spiritualismus in der Reformationszeit (Freiburg: JCB Mohr, 1892). Hegler's role in the identification of a Reformation Spiritualist tradition and the significance of Franck for that tradition has been noted by a number of subsequent historians. See A. G. Dickens and John Tonkin, The Reformation in Historical Thought (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985), 217; Williams, Radical Reformation, 394; Philip Kintner, "Studies in the Historical Writings of Sebastian Franck (1499-1542)" (Ph. D. diss., Yale U., 1957), 243-44 Return to Text

[7] . William Klassen, Covenant and Community: The Life, Writings and Hermeneutics of Pilgram Marpeck (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), 30-31, 36-45, 150, 156; William Klassen and Walter Klaassen, eds. and trans., The Writings of Pilgram Marpeck (Kitchener, ON and Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1978), 3-44, 69 (hereafter WPM). Return to Text

[8] . Klassen, Covenant and Community, 43. Return to Text

[9] . Boyd, Pilgram Marpeck, 62, 84-90; Werner Packull, Hutterite Beginnings: Communitarian Experiments during the Reformation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1996), 133-34,157; Williams, Radical Reformation, 406; Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology, 134, 309-14. Return to Text

[10] . Walter Klaassen, "Spiritualization in the Reformation," MQR 37 (Jan. 1963), 67-77; Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology, 308-9. Return to Text

[11] . Packull, Hutterite Beginnings, 139-46; Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology, 309-14. Return to Text

[12] . Packull, Hutterite Beginnings, 134-37, 139. Return to Text

[13] . McLaughlin, "Schwenkfeld and the Strasbourg Radicals," 278. Return to Text

[14] . Klassen, Covenant and Community, 30-31, 42-43, 156. Return to Text

[15] . Boyd lists Franck with B]derlin and Entfelder as those responsible for turning the cleavage within Anabaptist ranks in Strasbourg into an open division. But elsewhere he claims that Franck's defection from the Anabaptists came later. See Boyd, Pilgram Marpeck, 59, esp. n. 84; 87. Return to Text

[16] . For example, see Harold Bender, "The Anabaptist Vision," Church History 13 (1944), 5, 17; John Toews, "Sebastian Franck: Friend and Critic of the Early Anabaptists," (Ph.D. diss., U. of Minnesota, 1964), 3. For an insightful corrective on this tradition, see Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology, 136. Return to Text

[17] . Stayer, "Radical Reformation, 264. Return to Text

[18] . For a summary of debates on dating this letter, see Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 63, n. 81. Siegfried Wollgast, Der deutsche Pantheismus im 16. Jahrhundert. Sebastian Franck und seine Wirkung auf die Entwicklung der pantheistischen Philosphie in Deutschland (Berlin: VEB, 1972), 79, makes the remarkable suggestion that this letter was actually written before Franck's arrival in Strasbourg. Return to Text

[19] . George H. Williams and Angel M. Mergel, eds., Spiritualist and Anabaptist Writers: Documents Illustrative of the Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1957), 145 (hereafter SAW). See also Hegler, Geist und Schrift, 53; Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 67. Return to Text

[20] . SAW, 156 (also in Manfred Krebs and Hans Georg Rott, eds. Quellen zur Geschichte der Tеfer, vol. 7: Elsass, 1. Teil: Stadt Strassburg 1522-1532 [G》ersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1959], 317-18 [hereafter TAE I]). Return to Text

[21] . SAW, 150; TAE I, 306. Return to Text

[22] . Ibid., 153-55, 157, 159; TAE I, 312-15, 318-19, 322-24. Cf. Christian Entfelder, Von den mannigfaltigen Zerspaltungen im Glauben, die in diesen Jahren entstanden sind, in Adolf Laube et al., eds., Flugschriften vom Bauernkrieg zum Tеfferreich (1526-1535), vol. 2 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1992), 938-45, 947, 969; Johannes B]derlin, Erklerung durch Vergleichung der Biblischen geschrifft, das der wassertauf sampt andern e《serlichen gebreuchen, in der Apostolischen kirchen ge|t, in Hans-Joachim K派ler et al., Early Modern Pamphlets: Sixteenth-Century German and Latin, 1501-1530 (Zug, Switzerland: Interdocumentation Co., 1980 ff.), fiche 1167-1168, number 2946, Fiii, Fiiii, Fv(f-h). For Marpeck's response, see WPM, 44-47, 71, 94. Return to Text

[23] . SAW, 148-49, 152, 154; TAE I, 302-4, 309-10, 314-15. Cf. Entfelder, Von den mannigfaltigen Zerspaltungen, 962, 964-66. Return to Text

[24] . SAW, 149, 155; TAE I, 304-5, 316-17. Cf. Entfelder, Von den mannigfaltigen Zerspaltungen, 955-56, B]derlin, Erklerung durch Vergleichung, D(b)-Dii, Dv(e-f), Gii(b)-Giii. For Marpeck's response, see WPM, 55. Return to Text

[25] . SAW, 149-50, 152; TAE I, 305, 310. Cf. Entfelder, Von den mannigfaltigen Zerspaltungen, 965-66, B]derlin, Erklerung durch Vergleichung, Diiii, Dv, Ev(g), Fv, Fv(c), Giiii. For Marpeck's responses, see WPM, 45-46, 64-66, 90, 94-95, 100-6. Return to Text

[26] . SAW, 150, 152-53 TAE I, 306, 311-12. Cf. Entfelder, Von den mannigfaltigen Zerspaltungen, 939, 941, 956-57, 969-70, B]derlin, Erklerung durch Vergleichung, Dv(c), Giiii. For Marpeck's response, see WPM, 46-64, 71, 89-100. Return to Text

[27] . Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 62-67, and Deppermann, "Francks Aufenhalt," 110-11, while noting that Franck rejects all established churches, concentrate on his criticism of Rome and the magisterial Reformers. Toews, "Friend and Critic of Anabaptism," 243-45, notes Franck's criticisms of the Anabaptists but softens them by claiming he perceived their restitution of apostolic practices as only premature. Return to Text

[28] . SAW, 151, 157; TAE I, 308-9, 319. Return to Text

[29] . SAW, 148-49; TAE I, 303. Return to Text

[30] . SAW, 153-54; TAE I, 313. Interestingly, Entfelder, too, refers to the contemporary division of Western Christendom into the same four groups as does Franck. See Entfelder, Von den mannigfaltigen Zerspaltungen, 943, 947, 969. Return to Text

[31] . George H. Williams calls this the most original and valuable portion of the Chronica. Williams, Radical Reformation, 396-97. Return to Text

[32] . Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 68. There is some speculation that Franck had been working on this chronicle since at least 1528. See Christoph DeJung, Wahrheit und Hвesie: Eine Untersuchung zur Geschichtsphilosophie bei Sebastian Franck (Zurich: Samisdat, 1980), 41, 55, 114, 119; Kintner, "Studies," 31-32. Return to Text

[33] . DeJung, Wahrheit und Hвesie, 119. Return to Text

[34] . Sebastian Franck, Chronica, Zeitbuch unnd Geschichtsbibel (Ulm,1536; photoreprint ed., Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1969), iiii, cxciiii(v), cc. (=1531, cclvi, ccccxliiii[v]-ccccxlv, ccccli-ccccli[v]). Citations are from the 1536 edition of the Chronica, but these have been checked against the 1531 edition. Return to Text

[35] . Ibid., clxxvi(v)-clxxvii(v) (=1531, ccccxxviii-ccccxxix). Return to Text

[36] . Ibid., cxxxv(v)-cxxxvi (=1531, ccclxxxiii). Return to Text

[37] . Ibid., cxcviii-cxcviii(v) (= 1531, ccccxlix[v]-ccccl). Return to Text

[38] . Ibid., cxciii, cc(v) (= 1531, ccccxliv[v]-ccccxlv, cccclii). Return to Text

[39] . Ibid., lxxxi(v)-lxxxii (1531= ccclxxxiiii[v]-ccclxxxv). Return to Text

[40] . De Jung, Wahrheit und Hвesie, 32. Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 85-86, seconds DeJung's judgment on this point. Return to Text

[41] . Franck, Chronica, cci(v)-ccii (= 1531, ccccliii-ccccliii[v]). Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 70, has noted the significance of this definition, describing the theme of the divisions in Christianity as the most urgent in the Chronica. Return to Text

[42] . For example, Franck states in his article on the Antichrist that all sects belong to the Antichrist. See Chronica, xcii (= 1531, cccxlv[v]-cccxlvi). Elsewhere he claims that God is against all sects. See Ibid., cxciii(v) (= 1531, ccccxlv). Return to Text

[43] . Ibid., iii-iiii (= 1531, cclv-cclvi). See DeJung, Wahrheit und Hвesie, 19, on the significance of the prefaces in Franck's works for recovering his own voice. Return to Text

[44] . Ibid., iii(v). (= 1531, cclv[v]). Return to Text

[45] . For example, see ibid., iii(v), iiii (= 1531, cclv[v], cclvi). Return to Text

[46] . Ibid., iiii (= 1531, cclvi). Return to Text

[47] . Ibid., xciii(v) (= 1531, ccclxvi). Return to Text

[48] . Ibid., cxciii (= 1531, ccccxliiii[v]). Return to Text

[49] . Ibid., cxcvi(v)-cxcvii (= 1531, ccccxlviii-ccccxlviii[v]). Return to Text

[50] . Ibid., cxciii-cxciii(v), cxcvi, cc (= 1531, ccccxlv, ccccxlviii, ccccli[v]). Return to Text

[51] . Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 88, 91-93, has noted that Franck's concern with the Anabaptists is a significant element in The Chronicle of Heretics and that he is strongly critical of them, but he does not examine this evidence in light of Marpeck's debate with the Geister. More representative of interpretation of Franck's treatment of the Anabaptists here is in Toews, "Friend and Critic of Anabaptism," 130-65, 203-46, which, while noting Franck's criticisms of the Anabaptists, stresses more his denunciations of the magisterial Reformers in this work. Return to Text

[52] . Ernst Troeltsch, The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches, 2 vols. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1931) II: 767; Will-Erich Peuckert, Sebastian Franck. Ein Deutscher Sucher (Munich: R. Piper, 1943), 79, 84-86, 102; Toews, 33, 36, 231; and Rudolf Kommoss, Sebastian Franck und Erasmus von Rotterdam (Berlin, 1934; reprint ed., Nendeln/Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1967), 9, suggest that Franck at least experimented with sectarian fellowship. Eberhard Teufel, "Landrеmig." Sebastian Franck, ein Wanderer an Donau, Rhein und Neckar (Neustadt an der Aisch: Verlag Degener, 1954), 37-38, and Haydon-Roy, Inner Word and Outer World, 24-27 argue that Franck maintained a consistent distance from the Anabaptists. De Jung, Wahrheit und Hвesie, 117, allows for possible, distant contacts with the Anabaptists but insists that these were shortlived. Return to Text

[53] . Horst Weigelt, Sebastian Franck und die lutherische Reformation (G》ersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1972), 20, 34; idem., "Sebastian Franck und die lutherische Reformation. Die Reformation im Spiegel des Werkes Sebastian Francks," in M〕ler, ed., Sebastian Franck, 41. Return to Text

[54] . The text of Frecht's accusation is contained in Peuckert, Sebastian Franck, 369. Return to Text

[55] . Sebastian Franck, Smtliche Werke. Kritische Ausgabe mit Kommentar, vol. 1: Fr”e Schriften, ed. Hans-Gert Roloff et al. (Berlin: Peter Lang, 1993), 369 (hereafter Franck Werke). See also Franck's other references to the ban in this work, Franck Werke, I, 366-67, 396, 401. Return to Text

[56] . See Teufel, 30-31 and DeJung, Wahrheit und Hвesie, 115. Especially convincing is Teufel's reference to Luther's discussion of the ban in the introduction to his German Mass of 1526. Return to Text

[57] . Franck Werke, I, 503-5. Return to Text

[58] . The most serious question raised is the statement on the title page that associates Franck with Gustenfelden, a village it is assumed he left for good in 1528; see Franck Werke, I, 360. On the other hand internal evidence from this text seems to reinforce the date of 1531. On several occasions in this work Franck plays on themes developed in a 1499 tract against drunkenness written by Phillip Beroaldus and subsequently translated into German by Franck and published in Nuremberg in 1531. See Franck, Werke I, 370, 402, 329-55. Return to Text

[59] . Peuckert, Sebastian Franck, 99. Return to Text

[60] . Ibid., 100. Return to Text

[61] . Franck, Werke, I, 288-90, 298-300. Return to Text

[62] . Ibid., 304. Return to Text

[63] . Kintner, "Studies," 44. Return to Text

[64] . Franck Werke, I, 308, 326. Return to Text

[65] . Weigelt, Reformation, 20, 34 suggests that this process begins as early as 1529 in The Chronicle or Description of Turkey. His "Spiegel," 42, emphasizes instead 1531 and the Chronica. Return to Text

[66] . Weigelt, Reformation, 36-38 and "Spiegel," 44-45. Return to Text

[67] . Cf. McLaughlin's statement about distinct movements, "Schwenkfeld and the Strasbourg Radicals," 278. Scholars of Anabaptism have not completely ignored the place of the Spiritualists in the Strasbourg debates, although their tendency has been to focus their attention elsewhere. For example see Stayer, "Radical Reformation," 264-65, and Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology, 134. Return to Text

[68] . McLaughlin, Schwenkfeld, 106. Return to Text

[69] . Cited in Ibid., 109. Return to Text

[70] . Deppermann, Hoffman, 174. Return to Text

[71] . McLaughlin, Schwenkfeld, 130-31; Williams, Radical Reformation, 371; Deppermann, Hoffman, 171-74. Return to Text

[72] . See McLaughlin, Schwenkfeld, 130-31; Deppermann, Hoffman, 196. Return to Text

[73] . James M. Kittelson, Wolfgang Capito: From Humanist to Reformer (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), 182-84, 187. Return to Text

[74] . Boyd, Marpeck, 65, n. 114; Deppermann, Hoffman, 193; Williams, Radical Reformation, 365. Return to Text

[75] . Kittelson, Wolfgang Capito, 178. Return to Text

[76] . Deppermann, Hoffman, 192-93. See also TAE I, 116-21. Return to Text

[77] . Kittelson, Capito, 178-79. Return to Text

[78] . Deppermann, Hoffman, 193-94, Kittelson, Capito, 177, 182-84. Return to Text

[79] . Kittelson, Capito, 189, Williams, Radical Reformation, 401. Return to Text

[80] . Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman, 288-90, 303; Lorna Jane Abray, The People's Reformation: Magistrates, Clergy and Commons in Strasbourg, 1500-1598 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), 44-65, 104-16. Return to Text

[81] . Williams, Radical Reformation, 383-84. See Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman, 172-74, for further details on context of Schwenkfeld's arrival in Strasbourg. Return to Text

[82] . Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman, 174. Return to Text

[83] . Franck, Chronica, cxc (= 1531, ccccxlii). Return to Text

[84] . Christoph De Jung, "Sebastian Francks nachgelassene Bibliothek," Zwingliana 16 (1983-85), 315-37. Return to Text

[85] . Franck, Chronica, cxcvi (= 1531, ccccxlvii[v]) and SAW, 159. Return to Text

[86] . Stayer, "Radical Reformation," 264. Return to Text

[87] . Williams, Radical Reformation, 384. Return to Text

[88] .Chronica, cci-cci(v) (= 1531, cccclii[v]). 808 Sebastian Franck in Strasbourg 803 Mennonite Quarterly Review 783