Ozment, Steven E. The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 : An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 1980. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 9, “The Swiss Reformation” pp. 318-339. Part 2, “Conrad Grebel and Swiss Anabaptism” pp. 328-332.
Conrad Grebel was known as the founder of Anabaptism. He “organized radical opposition to Zwingli” (Ozment 1980, 328). Like Zwingli, Grebel was university educated and familiar with humanist scholarship. Grebel had a history involving “a severe personal crisis” (Ozment 1980, 328) including brawls while at the University of Paris. In 1520, having moved to Zurich, he joined with Zwingli to study Greek and Hebrew. “Scholars have argued for decades over the reasons for the break between Grebel and Zwingli” (Ozment 1980, 3329). Did Zwingli compromise his original aims? “Pro-Grebel scholars argue that Zwingli did not suddenly and dramatically shift his position but came only gradually to opt for one of the ‘two [original] strands of his theological personality’” (Ozment 1980, 329). Zwingli tended to accept a state-run church, while Grebel and his followers wished to avoid all state involvement.
“Zwingli and the radicals of Zurich had many basic differences, but their opposition came to focus especially on the issue of infant baptism, a practice the radicals believed exposed the error and presumption of traditional religion more clearly than any other” (Ozment 1980, 330). The critics said that baptism should be applied to consenting people. Ozment observes that infant baptism was nt the primary tenet of Zwingli’s theology, but was an area open to critique (Ozment 1980, 331). Zwingli defended infant baptism “as the New Testament successor to the circumcision of infants in the Old Testament” (Ozment 1980, 331). On January 21, 1525, “Grebel baptized George Blaurock in Zurich” (Ozment 1980, 331). This rebaptism was to become a capital offense later, resulting in four deaths. After this time, rebaptism became a capital crime throughout the empire. Graebel was imprisoned then died in flight after an escape in 1527.