On this date in 1529, Biblical translator Ludwig Hätzer (or Haetzer, or Hetzer) had his head lopped off with a sword in the town square Konstanz (Constance) where he had first been ordained a priest. The charge against him was adultery … but his real crime was his Protestant radicalism.
Haetzer, a Hebrew scholar, was of that first generation of church reformers who pushed dangerously beyond the reforms intended by more respectable types like Luther and Zwingli.
The latter actually took Haetzer under his wing in 1523 for his erudite denunciation of religious imagery, and tapped him to help translate the Old Testament.
But Haetzer started rolling with wilder-eyed types like Michael Sattler and getting thrown out of cities and the like. The young priest’s own thinking evolved over the 1520s towards a rejection of infant baptism, and sacraments, and marriage.
There was also a sect among them the members of which wished, together with all things else, to have their wives in common; but they were soon suppressed by the other Brethren of the community, and driven out. Many inculpated Hut and Hätzer as leaders of this sect. If this be true, these men at all events atoned for their sin.
He wasn’t opposed to all corporal diversions, however.
Protestant authorities in Constance arrested him for living in sin with Anna Regel.