Strasser, Gottfried (1854-1912)
Gottfried Strasser (1854-1912), Reformed pastor in Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland, author of the song which has become the folk song, the Grindelwaldnerlied or Gletscherpfarrer von Grindelwald. In Langnau (Emmental), where he grew up, Strasser made some observations among the New Amish, which led him to a closer study of the Anabaptist movement. In 1884 he published a historical treatise, "Der schweizerische Anabaptismus zur Zeit der Reformation" in the Berner Beiträge zur Geschichte der schweizerischen Reformationskirchen, which is, however, not entirely objective and does not go beyond the prejudiced position of church historians of an earlier era. As the foundation of his book Strasser used biased sources, especially Bullinger's books, and therefore came to the conclusion that the Anabaptists were only fanatics. Even the conversion of Conrad Grebel he thought took place from motives of hostility rather than of love for the cause of the Gospel. For the doctrines of the Anabaptists Strasser showed little understanding, although he admitted that their motivation was not mere fanaticism but their wish to be, "after the example of the apostolic time, in the narrower circle of the awakened, a brotherhood of active holiness, the gathering of a truly Christian people which would adhere to the Gospel, live the most blameless lives and not tolerate any grave sin among them." Concerning the strict Biblicism of the Anabaptists Strasser said, "It was not to be avoided that the petrified adherence to the letter of the Bible would soon after the inception of Anabaptism turn into a fanaticism that elevated itself above the Bible." He identifies the Anabaptist movement with the Peasants' Revolt; the reports of fanatical happenings that Strasser gives are taken from Bullinger. On the whole, like his contemporary Emil Egli, whose works he used, Strasser sought to do justice to the history of the Reformation.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 645. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Geiser, Samuel. "Strasser, Gottfried (1854-1912)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 26 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/strasser_gottfried.
APA style: Geiser, Samuel. (1959). Strasser, Gottfried (1854-1912). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/strasser_gottfried.