Nespitzer, Georg (16th century)
Georg Nespitzer (Nospitzer), a citizen of Passau, Bavaria, Germany, therefore also called Jorg of Passau, b. at Stadtlauringen near Schweinfurt, a weaver by trade, was baptized on Easter 1527 by Hans Hut and became like him a successful Anabaptist preacher. After he became acquainted with the large Anabaptist congregation at Nikolsburg, he stayed briefly in Strasbourg, and then went to Augsburg, where he participated in the Martyrs' Synod and was sent out as a missionary to Franconia. Upon the suggestion of Hans Hut and Hans Denck he was made leader of the Augsburg congregation. Under his brief but active leadership in the spring of 1528 the congregation, some of whose first leaders were languishing in prison, increased in strength. His work also took him out to the surrounding communities; he held services at Goggingen near St. Radegundis, in Wellenburg near St. Severin, in the valleys of the Lech and Wertach, and baptized a number of new members, most of whom were soon seized and imprisoned or expelled from the city.
Nespitzer again and again urged his hearers to repent. Great distress would come upon the Brethren, "which would begin at Easter." When news of executions came, he comforted the community with these words: "Now you see that persecution is setting in against the house of God. Be of good cheer. Indeed, the Lord will not tarry long, He will come to our aid." After the time of tribulation the time of the establishment of the kingdom would begin.
Nespitzer sought to ease the poverty that overtook the refugee Brethren in Augsburg by appointing deacons. These were Georg Schachner of Munich, Augustin Bader, and two who later died as martyrs, Hans Leupold and Bernhard Zurgkendorfer of Goppingen.
Persecution at other places became more severe. Nespitzer's brother-in-law, Eucharius Binder, was surprised at a meeting with 36 Brethren in Salzburg on 27 October 1527, and was burned to death with them in the building. At the Easter service in Augsburg in 1528, which was led by Nespitzer and Hans Leupold, the city council had all those participating arrested (43 men and 45 women). Leupold was beheaded on 25 April 1528, and Nespitzer and the others from outside the city were expelled; he preached for a time in Franconia and then went to Strasbourg in 1529, where he was seized. In the face of the persecution before him he rendered the required recantation and lived in seclusion in Leutershausen near Ansbach (Wappler, 36), leading a God-fearing life, as the mayor and council of the city reported (TA, 196). When it was discovered that he had once belonged to the Anabaptists he was arrested but released upon public confession in the church and an oath of loyalty (TA, 197).
Two epistles from Nespitzer's hand have been preserved (TA, 168 f., and Wappler, 306 f.), in which he urged an earnest, penitent life.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 204 f.
Roth, Fr. Augsburger Reformationsgeschichte (2nd ed., 1904); and, "Zur Geschichte der Wiedertaufer in Oberschwaben," Ztscht des Hist, Vereins für Schwaben und Neuburg, 1901: 8.
Schornbaum, Karl. Quellen zur Geschichte der Wiedertäufer II. Band, Markgraftum Brandenburg. (Bayern I. Abteilung). Leipzig: M. Heinsius Nachfolger, 1934.
Wappler, Paul. Die Täuferbewegung in Thüringen von 1526-1584. Jena: Gustav Fisher, 1913.
Wiswedel, Wilhelm. Bilder and Führergestalten aus dem Täufertum. 3 v. Kassel: J.G. Oncken Verlag, 1928-1952: II, 48-51.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 824. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hege, Christian. "Nespitzer, Georg (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N4675.html.
APA style: Hege, Christian. (1957). Nespitzer, Georg (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N4675.html.