REUBLIN, reib'lin (ROEUBLI, RAEBL), WILHELM: Swabian Anabaptist; b. at Rottenburg on-the-Neckar (24 in. s.w. of Stuttgart) about 1480; d. after 1559, probably at Znaim (47 m. n.n.w. of Vienna). His name appears in a great variety of forms-Reiblin, Roubli, Roublin, Reubel, Rabl, Rabel, Reble, Rubli, Rublin, being some of the alternative spellings. Nothing is known of his early life. It is to be presumed that his parents were somewhat well-to-do, as in 1559 (the last notice of him) he asks King Ferdinand for permission to avail himself of his inheritance in Rottenburg. He seems to have received priestly orders before his matriculation at the University of Freiburg in 1507. After two years' study at Freiburg he removed to the University of Tübingen, where he was enrolled Aug. 21, 1509. On July 2, 1510, he was appointed pastor at Greisheim in Schaffhausen. On July 24, 1521, he became people's priest at St. Albans in Basel, having no doubt already alined himself with the opponents of the old order. His eloquent proclamation of the Gospel and bold denunciation of the prevailing corruptions and superstitions attracted audiences estimated by contemporaries at 3,000. The trade gilds gave him their enthusiastic support. The veneration of images and the keeping of ecclesiastical fasts he strongly discouraged. In the Corpus Christi procession of 1522 he carried a large Bible instead of relics, saying, "This is the truly sacred thing, the others are merely dead bones." For this reckless zeal he was banished by the council June 27. He was invited to a pastorate at Lauffenburg, but the Austrian authorities prevented his acceptance. In the autumn following he was in Zurich, where he frequently preached in the city and surrounding towns and villages, and in 1523 he settled at Wytikon. He was married to Adelheid Leemann Apr. 28, 1523. Soon afterward he began to call in question the Scriptural authority and the propriety of infant baptism. Acting on his advice several parents withheld their infants from christening and incurred severe punishment therefor. The antipedobaptist sentiment extended to Zollikon and the punishment of recusants called forth declarations against infant baptism by Rrötli, Grebel, Blaurock, Castelberg, Manz, and others. In the Zürich disputation of Jan. 17, 1525, on infant baptism Rsublin was one of the antipedobaptist speakers and he was among the first, shortly before or shortly after the disputation, to introduce believers' baptism. Banished from Zurich he went first to Greisheim and then to Waldahut, where he induced Hubmaier (q.v.), already convinced against infant baptism, to lead his adherents in submitting to believers' baptism. About Easter, 1525, he baptized Hubmaier and about sixty others and shortly afterward Hubmaier baptized about 300 more. After months of successful itinerant preaching he spent some time in Strasburg in 1526. Afterward in association with Michael Sattler (q.v.) he labored with remarkable success at Rottenburg, his home town, and from there extended his evangelizing activity to Reutlingen, Ulm, and Esslingen, where he was commonly known among antipedobaptists as "Pastor Wilhelm." He is next found a second time in Strasburg, where he asked for a public disputation with the ministers. His request was denied by the council on prudential grounds, but private discussion with the ministers was arranged for. He was thrown into prison Oct. 22, 1528. Having become "miserably sick and lame" he was released (Jan., 1529) and banished with the threat that drowning would be the penalty of returning. Failing to secure permission to reside in Constance, he made his way with wife and children to Moravia, where he entered the Austerlitz household of the communistic antipedobaptist society whose head was Jacob Wiedemann. Wiedemann, no doubt, suspected from the first in Reublin lack of sympathy with the ideals of the community and may have been unwilling to have the eloquence of the learned newcomer brought into comparison with his own uncultured preaching. Reublin is said to have criticized severely the disorder that prevailed and Wiedemann resented his expression of opinion. Though urged by several of the members to invite Reublin to preach he persistently refused and when, after his return from a journey, he was informed that Reublin had preached without his permission he was so indignant that he denounced and excommunicated him and refused to give him a hearing though urged to do so by Reublin's friends. With about 150 sympathizers, Reublin made his way almost empty-handed to Auspitz, where a new community was formed that suffered great hardship. In Jan., 1531, he was denounced and excommunicated by Jacob Huter, who had been invited by the Austerlitz and Auspitz communities to assist them in settling difficulties that had arisen, on the ground of his imperfect observance of the principle of absolute community of goods which the latter and the majority of the brethren regarded as of the very essence of the Gospel. He disappears from view for over twenty years, discouraged no doubt by his inability to work harmoniously with the Moravian antipedobaptists and being excluded from the lands in which his early years had been spent by the general execution of the sanguinary edict of Speyer of 1529. In 1554 old and infirm he returned to Basel and begged for permission to reside there and engage in humble service for the sick and poor. He was not encouraged to remain, but a considerable sum of money was given him to defray his expenses at a health resort. He returned to Moravia and is last heard of in 1559 (as above).
BIBLIOGRAPHY. A sketch of the life is furnished by
G. Bossert in Blatter fur Wurttembergische Kirchengeechichte, 1889, nos. 10-12, 1890, nos. 1-2. Consult further:
C. A. Cornelius, Geschichte des munsterschen Aufruhrs, Leipsic;1855-60;
E. Egli. Die Zürcher Wiedertäufer, Zurich, 1878,
idem, Actensammlung zur Geschichte der Zurcher Reformation, ib. 1879;
J. Beck, GewAichtsbUcher der Wiedertriufer in 0egerreich-Ungarn, Vienna. 1883;
L. Keller, Die Refomation und die Alteren Reformparteien, Leipsic, 1885;
R. Nitsche, Geschichte der Wiedertaufer in der Schweiz zur Reformationzeit, Einsiedeln, 1885;
C. Gerbert, Geschichte der Straasburger Sektenbewegurg, 1524-35, Strasburg, 1889;
A. H. Newman, Hist. of Anti-Pedobaptism, pp. 105 sqq., Philadelphia, 1897;
A. Hulshof, Geshiedenis van den Doopegezind en Straassburg,1525-57,1905.
For Reublin's justification of himself and complaint of ill-treatment at the hands of the Moravian communists cf. his letter to
Pilgrim Marbeck in C. A. Cornelius, ut sup., vol. ii., Beilage.
Calvin College. Last modified on 06/03/04. Contact the CCEL.