Strasser, Gottfried (1854-1912)

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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, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV.

Author(s) Samuel Geiser
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Geiser, Samuel. "Strasser, Gottfried (1854-1912)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 Jun 2018.,_Gottfried_(1854-1912)&oldid=106356.

APA style

Geiser, Samuel. (1959). Strasser, Gottfried (1854-1912). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2018, from,_Gottfried_(1854-1912)&oldid=106356.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 645. All rights reserved.

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