Swiss reformer; b. Hagenau in Alsace, 1478; d. Strassburg, Nov. 4, 1541. Capito (Köpfel) was educated at Ingolstadt, Freiburg, and Basel, where he was professor of theology and cathedral preacher (1515–20). He held degrees in law, theology, and medicine and was in addition a distinguished Hebraist. From 1520 to 1523 he was chaplain and chancellor to the archbishop of Mainz. After his arrival in Strassburg in May 1523 he worked tirelessly for the propagation of the Reformation in the city. Some of the ideas and emphases in his early theology approximate to a striking degree those of the anabaptists, with a few of whom he was on friendly terms, but this unusually sympathetic position altered after 1532, and in a vernacular pamphlet of 1534 he repudiated the Anabaptists decisively.
Bibliography: j. w. baum, Capito und Butzer (Leben und ausgewählte Schriften der Väter und Begründer der Reformirten Kirche, ed. k. r. hagenbach, v.3, Elberfeld 1860). o. e. strasser, La Pensée théologique de Wolfgang Capiton dans les dernières années de sa vie (Neuchâtel 1938). The Mennonite Encyclopedia, 4v. (Scottdale, Pa. 1955–60) 1:512–516. r. stupperich, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 1957–65) 1:1613.
[c. garside, jr.]