KETTENBACH, ket'ten-baH, HEINRICH VON: German Franciscan monk. The place and year of his birth and death, as well as his ancestry, are unknown, and there seems to be little foundation for the common belief that he was a member of a noble family, although from the style of his writings it might be presumed that he was of Franconian origin. In the latter part of 1521 he was in the Franciscan monastery at Ulm, where he displayed great zeal as a preacher and denounced the idleness and corruption of the clergy with fearless satire. In a controversy with the Domican preacher Peter Nestler he denied that the church was empowered to amend or supplement the sanctions of the Scriptures, declaring that it was based on an unalterable Gospel, ridiculing the doctrine of papal infallibility, and praising Luther, Melanchthon and Karlstadt as soldiers in the divine cause. In his sermon Von der christlichen Kirche (Ulm 1522?), delivered in the summer of 1522, he expounded the doctrine of a Church consisting of the community of the elect, living in common possession of service, chattels, joys and sorrows, and founded upon Christ and not upon Peter, whose church was rather the synagogue of Satan, the imposture of the western world, as Mohammed's is of the East. Luther is hailed as the prophet of the times, laboring in the spirit of Elijah and with the wisdom of Daniel. In spite of the Edict of Worms and the opposition of the bishop of Constance, Kettenbach remained at his post till late in 1522, supported by the good-will of a large part of the population. At the end of the year, however, he was obliged to make a precipitate retreat from the city. It is not definitely known where he went, although, from his active participation in Franz von Sickingen's expedition against Treves, it might be inferred that that region was his immediate place of refuge. The imprint of his later works would point to a residence in Saxony.

The character of Kettenbach's works reveals the growth of an opposition to the Roman Catholic Church which found vent in exhortations to the clergy and the cities to take up arms for the Reformed religion. The Vergleichung des Allerheiligsten Herrn und Vaters, des Papsts, gegen den seltsam fremden Gast in der Christenheit, genannt Jesus (Augsburg, 1523) is a succession of sharply drawn antitheses between the doctrines of the Gospel and those of the Church. In his Practica, praktiziert aus der Bibel auf viel zwkünftige Jahre (1523), Kettenbach addressed himself to the inhabitants of the imperial towns, urging them to embrace the cause of the lower nobility against the princes, and defending Luther against the charge of having brought disorder into the country. The magistracy of Nuremberg prohibited and confiscated the Practica on Sept. 15, 1523, because of its attack on the pope and the emperor. After the death of Franz von Sickingen in May, 1523, Kettenbach published the Vermahnung Franzens von Sickingen an sein Heer, in which the attempt was made to vindicate him from the accusation of having brought civil war into Germany. There is no certain proof, however, that Kettenbach himself was the author. The last of his important writings was Eine neue Apologia und Verantwortung Martini Luthers wider der Papisten Mordgeschrei (Wittenberg, 1523), in which the Reformer is cleared of such charges as those of opposing the sacraments, minimizing the importance of confession, attacking the mass, and introducing disorder into the Church. After such intense literary activity during 1522 and 1523 it is surprising to find him silent during the following


year. He is known to have preached a sermon on Matt. vii. 15 in the summer of 1525, but this is the last trace of his existence. It has been conjectured that he may have perished in the Peasants' Revolt or that he may have been identical with the Franciscan Heinrich Spelt who was still active in 1526.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Veesenmeyer, Beyträge zur Geschichte der Litteratur und Reformation, pp. 79-117, Ulm, 1792; ADB, xv. 676-678


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