Knipperdolling, Bernard

Knipperdolling, Bernard, one of the leaders of the Anabaptists of Munster, was born, probably in that city, towards the close of the 15th century. His attachment to Lutheran principles caused him to be exiled from Munster. and in his travels he connected himself with the Anabaptists in Sweden. Returning to Munster, he became the leader of the religious enthusiasts there, together with Rothmann, Matthiesen, and Bockhold, and, creating disturbances, he was imprisoned by order of the bishop of Munster. Imprisonment by no means dampened his ardor, and no sooner had he been released than he placed himself at the head of his partisans, and actually succeeded in becoming master of the city. Taken and imprisoned again, he was released by his friends, and soon acquired such reputation that the Anabaptists elected him in 1534 burgomaster of Munster. The same rabble which had succeeded in electing, him to the principal office of the city now assumed control over him, and, making common cause with the fanatical Bockhold, better known as John of Leyden, and with Matthiesen, they immediately filled all public offices with their adherents, and proclaimed equality of estates, community of goods, and polygamy. All who showed the least signs of opposition were summarily dealt with; but so severe, became Knipperdolling, who had subsequently been elected stadtholder, and had appointed John of Leyden king of Munster, that he was arrested by order of the " king" and imprisoned. The Roman Catholic party finally gained the upper hand in 1536, when Knipperdollinig was taken, condemned to have his body torn with red-hot pincers, and to be afterwards put to the sword, which sentence was executed Jan. 23, 1536. He persisted to the last in his opinions, and refused to become reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church. His body was exhibited in an iron cage (which still remains) suspended from the belfry of St. Lambert's Church, Munster. See Catrou, Hist. des Anabaptistes, vol. ii; Mencken, Scriptores Rev. Germ. 3:1534 sq.; Hamelmann, Hist. .Eccles. renati AEvang. in Urbe Monast. Opp.; Conr. Heresbachie, Hist. Actionis Monasteriensis, edit. Bouterwek (Elberf. 1866, 8vo). SEE ANABAPTISTS. (J. H. W.)

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