Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Münzer, Thomas

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MÜNZER, THOMAS (münt'ser), a leader of the Anabaptists (q. v.); born in Stolberg, in the Harz, about 1489. He studied theology, and in 1520 began to preach at Zwickau. His Christian socialism and his mystical doctrines soon brought him into collision with the Reformers and the town authorities. He thereupon made a preaching tour through Bohemia, Silesia, Brandenburg, and settled in Thuringia (1523). Again deprived of his office, he visited Nuremberg, Basel, and other S. German cities, and was finally in 1525 elected pastor of the Anabaptists of Mühlhausen, where he won the common people, notwithstanding Luther's denunciations of him, introduced his communistic ideas, and soon had the whole country in insurrection. But on May 15, 1525, he and his men were totally routed at Frankenhausen by Philip of Hesse. Münzer escaped from the battle field, but was captured in flight and executed in Mühlhausen, Prussian Saxony, May 30, 1525.