Wahli, Bendicht (c1720-1795)

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Bendicht Wahli (c1720-1795), a Swiss Mennonite elder, was born in Bolligen, Swiss canton of Bern. He married Katherina Oberli (d. 1771) of Lützelflüh c1742, and rented the Berghaus (also called Maison Blanche) near Magglingen, on the mountain above Biel, in 1744. It was here that their four daughters and one son were born and raised. He was chosen as a minister of the Mennonites in the Jura in 1760 and became a highly respected leader. In 1782 he went with Peter Ramseyer, Hans Lehman, Hans Steiner, and David Baumgartner to Himmelshäuserhof, Palatinate, to help restore peace among the brethren there.

C. H. Meiners, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Göttingen, visited Bendicht Wahli while on a tour of Switzerland in the summer of 1782. In his printed report Meiners gives him the nickname "Täufer-Benz." He speaks of Wahli's industry in wresting a beautiful farm from a stony upland, walking for many miles over hill and valley to preach for several hours to a gathering of Anabaptists, earning his living by weaving; Meiners describes him as very intelligent and, though he had little schooling, able to speak with great knowledge on theological topics.

The Anabaptists have become well known in the canton of Bern because of an anecdote about "Täufer-Benz" that appeared in the obligatory reader for the fifth grade of the Bernese primary school in 1896-1920. The story relates that on a trip Täufer-Benz found a man weeping because he had been robbed of his money. Benz asked if he had been robbed of his God also. Receiving a negative reply, Benz said that then he had not been robbed of everything. Benz handed the astonished traveler his own filled purse saying that God had directed him to do this in His name. Before the traveler could recover from his astonishment Benz had proceeded on his way.


Amstutz, Jakob A. "Die Wiedertäufer." Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1924): 48.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 449-450.

Lehmann, Heinrich Ludwig. Das Bisthum Basel. 1798: 101-8.

Meiners, C. H. Briefe über die Schweiz I. 1784: 147.

Wyss, Jacob. "Das Weisshaus (La Maison Blanche) in Leubringen." Bieler Jahrbuch (1933): 34-63.

Author(s) Delbert L Gratz
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Gratz, Delbert L. "Wahli, Bendicht (c1720-1795)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Jul 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wahli,_Bendicht_(c1720-1795)&oldid=144645.

APA style

Gratz, Delbert L. (1959). Wahli, Bendicht (c1720-1795). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 July 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wahli,_Bendicht_(c1720-1795)&oldid=144645.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 869-870. All rights reserved.

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