Hubmaier's Letter to Johannes Sapidus
Macgregor, Kirk R., Mennonite Quarterly Review
This previously untranslated Latin letter of Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1528) to the humanist scholar Johannes Sapidus (1490-1561), written on October 26, 1521, sheds important light on a hazy yet pivotal period in Hubmaier's life. We know relatively little about Hubmaier's activities between late 1520 - when the staunch Catholic left his post as chief cathedral preacher (Domprediger) at Regensburg for the provincial Swiss town of Waldshut in order to avoid a monetary dispute with the Dominicans - and late 1522, when he resumed his priestly duties in Regensburg with a new evangelical reforming program. It is clear, however, that following Hubmaier's return, the citizens of Regensburg were unwilling to embrace the Reformation even at the behest of their acclaimed cleric, forcing Hubmaier to return to Waldshut in March 1523. (1) The original text of this letter predates both the statements at the Second Zurich Disputation, which are the earliest sources in Pipkin and Yoder's standard English translation of Hubmaier's works, (2) and the Eighteen Articles (Achtzehn SchluBriften) - the earliest material in the critical edition of the Hubmaier Schriften. (3) The letter is contained in the Strasbourg city register of documents spanning the years 1522 to 1532. (4)
The reason why this 1521 letter - carried by Hubmaier's nephew Leonhard from Waldshut to Selestat in Upper Alsace--found its way into the Strasbourg collection concerns the history of the letter's recipient. From 1511 to 1525 Johannes Sapidus served as rector of the Selestat grammar school. Once his Reformation ideas drew the ire of the Inquisition, however, he relocated in 1526 to the University of Strasbourg, where he spent the remainder of his life as a professor. (5) That Sapidus kept this letter and brought it with him to Strasbourg suggests his continuing friendship with Hubmaier and Leonhard.
This letter marks a turning point in the future Anabaptist leader's religious development, as Hubmaier openly displayed his newfound sympathy for Luther as well as the evangelical principles of sola scriptura, the priesthood of all believers, and the regeneration of the heart accompanying justification, Hubmaier claims to have personally experienced such a regeneration through a conversion experience, triggered by his study of the Pauline epistles, through which he gained adoption into God's family. As a result of this conversion, Hubmaier professes an unswerving commitment to living out the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Hubmaier's Letter to Johannes Sapidus. Contributors: Macgregor, Kirk R. - Author. Journal title: Mennonite Quarterly Review. Volume: 84. Issue: 1 Publication date: January 2010. Page number: 141+. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.