Early Anabaptists who believed that it was permissible to kill non-members and make a living off robbing others

1530s - 1580s

Before the Schleitheim Confession was created and Anabaptists agreed on a nonresistance stance, the Batenburgers built a negative reputation towards Anabaptists due to their sprees of violence. They believed that God owned everything, and since they were God's chosen children, all possessions in the world also belonged to them. From this belief, they held wives in common, committed arsons, killed nonmembers, planned attacks on cities, and made a living by robbing others. When the leader was captured, he sold out his followers by telling authorities where they lived.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Anabaptists

Founder: Jan van Batenburg

Founded: Early 1530s

Ended: Mostly dissolved by 1545, extinct by the 1580s

Size: Several hundred

Location: Netherlands

Also called: Zwaardgeesten (sword-minded); Children of Emlichheim; Batenborgers

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