Ortlibenses is the name of a Christian sect, sometimes spoken of as a branch of the ancient Vaudois, or Waldenses (q. y.). They were afterwards identified with the Brethren of the Free Spirit. The Ortlibenses are mentioned in the treatise of Reinerius against the Waldenses (Bibl. Max. 25:266), where also they are called, but apparently by a false reading, Ordibarii. The Ortlibenses appear to have been a party of the disciples of A malric of
Bena, who formed themselves into a sect under the influence of a leader named Ortlieb, at Strasburg, early in the 13th century (Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. 3:467). Reiner describes them as repudiators of nearly all the articles of Christian faith. Thus they denied that there was a Trinity before the nativity of Jesus Christ, who, according to them. only then became the Son of God. To these two persons of the Godhead they added a third, during the preaching of Jesus Christ, namely, the apostle Peter, whom they acknowledged as being the Holy Ghost. They held the eternity of the world; but had no notion of the resurrection of the body or the immortality of the soul. Notwithstanding this they maintained (perhaps by way of irony) that there would be a final judgment, at which time the pope and the emperor would become proselytes to their sect. They denied the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His cross, they pretended, was penance and their own abstemious way of life; this, they said, was the cross Jesus Christ bore. They ascribed all the virtue of baptism to the merit of him who administered it. They were of opinion that Jews might be saved without baptism, provided they joined their ranks. They boldly asserted that they themselves were the only true mystical body, that is to say; the Church of Christ. The Ortlibensian heresy seems to have been closely associated with the pantheism of Amalric, and with his theory as to the incarnation of the Holy Spirit. See, besides the works by Reiner and Gieseler above referred to, Neander, Ch. Hist. 4:570, 571.