Hutter, Jakob

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Anabaptist leader who organized orderly Christian communist communities that have survived to the present under the name Hutterites; b. Moos, South-Tyrol, date unknown; d. Innsbruck, Feb. 25, 1536. An itinerant hatmaker possessing only rudimentary formal education, Hutter early joined the Anabaptists, and he became the acknowledged leader of this movement in Tyrol after the execution of Georg Blaurock (1529). When it became known that Moravia offered a haven to religious nonconformists, Hutter tried to make it a refuge for his persecuted adherents. After initial conflicts with the existing ineffective leadership in Moravia, he reorganized some Anabaptist communities into collective farms (Bruderhof or Haushaben ) in and around Auspitz, Moravia. The basic pattern developed by him at that time has been retained by his followers. As a result of renewed persecution, Hutter left again for Tyrol. He kept in touch with his Moravian followers by letters, which are his only genuine literary remains. Arrested in Clausen, Tyrol, in November 1535, he was taken to Innsbruck, where, after lengthy cross-examination and torture, he was condemned to death and burned at the stake.

Bibliography: h. fischer, Jacob Huter (Newton, KS 1956). r. friedmann, Hutterite Studies (Goshen, IN 1961). g. h. williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia 1962). k. algermissen, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:551. g. mecenseffy, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 3:495496.

[g. w. forell]