A church tax of one tenth on all produce, used for the support of the clergy, became mandatory for all Christians in the 9th century. It was based on the Old Testament tithe law of Deuteronomy 14:22-23. When peasants determined to take control of church affairs during 1522-1526, there were tithe refusals on the ground that tithes went to support indolent and greedy clergy. Peasants demanded that the tithes be used to support the clergy they chose and, beyond that, the poor of the parish (the second of the Twelve Articles of the Peasants). There were some tithe refusals in Zürich in 1522, articulated by the radical priest Simon Stumpf, and continued controversy over their use in 1523. Zwingli and the city council insisted on payment, but adopted the popular program of using tithes to support parish clergy and the poor. Anabaptists insisted from the beginning that the tithe, being a tax of the government, should be paid since the New Testament made it mandatory.
Goeters, J. F. G. "Die Vorgeschichte des Täufertums in Zürich," in Studien zur Geschichte und Theologie der Reformation, ed. L. Abrainowski und J. F. G. Goeters. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1969: 239-81, at 246-91.
Stayer, James M. "Neue Modelle eines gemeinsamen ein Lebens: Gütergemeinschaft im Täufertum." Alles Gehört Allen: Das Experiment der Gütergemeinschaft vom 16. Jahrhundert bis heute, ed. H. J. Goertz. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1984: 25ff.
Harder, Leland, ed. The Sources of Swiss Anabaptism: the Grebel Letters and Related Documents, Classics of the Radical Reformation (CRR), vol. 4. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1985: 207-20 passim and index.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 885. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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