Gentner, Hans (d. 1548)
Hans Gentner of Sulzfeld in the government district of Eppingen in Baden, Germany, where the parson Gallus, a friend of Johannes Brenz, had early turned to the Reformation together with his patron, Göler von Ravensberg, was won to Anabaptism by Philip Plener and Blasius Kuhn or Kumauf, who had been very active in and around Bruchsal. With Plener he went to Moravia and served as a preacher under the Philipites. But when he became acquainted with the principles of the Hutterian Brethren in Moravia he left the Philipites and joined the Hutterites. Among the Philipites his withdrawal aroused great offense, which found expression in Blasius Kuhn's accusation that Gentner had not been honest with money entrusted to him. He must have succeeded in acquitting himself, for he received a position of confidence among the Hutterian Brethren.
In 1539 Gentner was sent to his former friends in Württemberg and the Palatinate with the prayers of his brethren. In Malsch (Wiesloch district), in cooperation with Wendel Metzger of Heidelsheim, he baptized men and women, some of whom were imprisoned. This mission indicates that he must have been an ordained minister. The brotherhood was so well pleased by his success that in 1540 they sent him again to the Swabian Unterland and to Württemberg, then into northern Württemberg, the nearby Palatinate, and Baden. This time he succeeded in persuading a considerable number to emigrate to Moravia. In 1541 he was again sent to Württemberg and also to Hesse.
The high regard of the brotherhood for Gentner was revealed in 1542. The charge of moral misconduct brought against Christoph Gschäl, a missionary in Carinthia, compelled the brotherhood to have a conference of preachers summoned by the new bishop, Leonhard Lanzenstiel, and his assistant Gentner, whereupon Gschäl was expelled from the brotherhood.
Another journey to Württemberg in 1543 with the deacon Michael Kramer brought Gentner into serious difficulty. He met a number of Schwenckfeldians, who believed that Jesus brought His flesh from heaven and did not receive it from Mary. Their leader was Jörg Nörlinger. Since their doctrine in general was in harmony with that of the Hutterian Brethren, Gentner, on the advice erf Kramer, remained silent on this point, for he hoped that their peculiar ideas would naturally disappear if they joined the brotherhood in Moravia. But when Nörlinger arrived in Moravia and tried to come to an agreement with the elders, he stated that Gentner had not opposed him on this point. Hans Feuerbach, a recent convert, was then sent to Württemberg to summon Gentner and Kramer to Moravia. Gentner was deprived of his preaching office and Kramer was also punished (Geschicht-Buch, 190-193).
Gentner, however, soon regained the confidence of the brotherhood. For in 1545 he was sent with Georg Liebich, who had proved his faithfulness in a long prison term at Innsbruck, to Silesia, to inform Gabriel Ascherham's numerous adherents (about 300) that the Gabrielites had joined the Hutterites after the excommunication of their leader.
In 1548 Gentner died in Schäckowitz, a half mile from Auspitz. The Geschicht-Buch (242) calls him "a faithful servant of the Word of God and His Church," who "had to endure much sorrow and many a struggle and battle for the sake of the Lord."
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 193.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 71 f..
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.
Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins (1905): 75.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 475. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bossert, Gustav, Sr. "Gentner, Hans (d. 1548)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G46402.html.
APA style: Bossert, Gustav, Sr. (1956). Gentner, Hans (d. 1548). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G46402.html.