Gerstungen (Freistaat Thüringen, Germany)
Gerstungen, a town (1955 pop. 3,433) in the Thuringian Forest, Germany, 11 miles west of Eisenach on the Werra. It is frequently mentioned in the history of the Thuringian Anabaptist movement. The earliest mention is made in 1527. Here Anabaptist doctrine was rather widely spread, for the town was under the jurisdiction of Saxony and Hesse, and the pastor, as Justus Menius stated in his church inspection report of 25 June 1533 to the young Elector John Frederick, "together with the vicar at Herda will not accept correction in the matter of impropriety and disorderly conduct, but always refer to the Hessian church inspection whenever it serves their purpose." On 1 May 1533, Margarethe Koch, who had been imprisoned at the same time as Fritz Erbe in the Wartburg, was cross-examined by the parsons Conrad Buchbach at Gerstungen and Martin Berstadt of Berka; she declared her opposition to infant baptism and the bodily presence of Christ in the communion emblems. Christina Strobel or Helwig, who was executed by drowning at Mühlhausen 8 November 1537, was also imprisoned in Gerstungen. A violent opponent of the Anabaptists was the tax commissar Wolf Blümlein of Gerstungen; in a trial of Anabaptists in 1544, he joined Justus Menius in demanding the death penalty for seven steadfast Anabaptists. It was, however, never carried out, for Philip of Hesse refused to give his consent. A church inspection conducted by Menius in January 1544 found 50 persons in Gerstungen who did not go to church or take part in communion services, "out of sheer carelessness or hostility, or because they have been waiting to learn of a council." They, however, promised to fulfill the requirements of the church.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 84.
Schmidt, Gustav Lebrecht. Justus Menius, der Reformator Thüringens: nach archivalischen und anderen gleichzeitigen Quellen. Gotha: Perthes, 1867
Wappler, Paul. Die Stellung Kursachsens und des Landgrafen Philipp von Hessen zur Täuferbewegung. Münster, 1910.
Wappler, Paul. Die Täuferbewegung in Thüringen von 1526-1584. Jena: Gustav Fisher, 1913.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 506. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hege, Christian. "Gerstungen (Freistaat Thüringen, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G4808.html.
APA style: Hege, Christian. (1956). Gerstungen (Freistaat Thüringen, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G4808.html.