Perhaps the most misunderstood, least recognized, and largely undervalued of all the great reformers of the sixteenth century is Michael Sattler, the Anabaptist. The little that is actually known about Michael Sattler is often times assumed or misinterpreted. However, the definite information available regarding this "radical" suggest that his brief yet significant role as a Reformation leader was truly invaluable for the unification and survival of the Anabaptist movement and its teachings. In addition, the radical ideas of Sattler and other Anabaptists have helped shape Western culture as we know it today. The contributions of Sattler to the greater Christian world are undeniable. This essay will engage the life, teaching, writings, and influence of the martyr Michael Sattler.
A Summary of the Life of Michael Sattler
Very little is known about the childhood and early adult life of Michael Sattler. In fact, there is almost no record of his existence prior to the time he converted to Anabaptist beliefs from Catholic doctrine. What is known is as follows:
Sattler was born in Staufen, Germany somewhere between 1490 and 1495. While information regarding his childhood remains in obscurity, it is apparent that he joined the Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter's of the Black Forest sometime before 1520. It is unlikely that Sattler received a significant education since St. Peter's did not send its monks to study at universities until 1551. However, evidence shows that Sattler was in fact learned in Latin, Hebrew, and possibly Greek. Numerous sources identify the converted Sattler as an ex-prior. Therefore, it is assumed that Sattler became the prior of St. Peter's sometime between 1518 (the year Prior Ambrosius Holdermann died) and 1525, when Sattler is identified in Zurich. Monastic records are unavailable for this time period, so it is uncertain how long Sattler held this post. (1)
On May 12, 1525, peasant troops took over St.... [continues]
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