MUNZER, THOMAS (c. 1489-1525), German anabaptist, was born at Stolberg in the Harz, and educated at Leipzig and Frankfort, graduating in theology. In 1520 he became a preacher at the church of St. Mary, Zwickau, and his rude eloquence, to gether with his attacks on the monks, soon raised him to influence. Aided by Nicholas Storch, he formed a society on principles akin to those of the Taborites, and claimed that he was under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. Driven out of Zwickau he went to Prague, where he won numerous adherents, but his violent lan guage brought about his expulsion from this city also. At Easter 1523 Miinzer came to Allstedt and began to preach at the church of St. John. His preaching and his denunciation of Luther's teaching soon produced an uproar in Allstedt, and he left the town for MUhlhausen, where Heinrich Pfeiffer was already preaching doctrines similar to his own. The union of Miinzer and Pfeiffer caused a disturbance in this city and both were expelled. Miinzer went to Nuremberg, where he issued a writing against Luther. He
now denounced established governments, and advocated commu nity of goods. After a tour in south Germany he returned to Miihlhausen, overthrew the governing body of the city, and estab lished a communistic theocracy. The Peasants' War had already broken out in various parts of Germany; and Miinzer collected a body of men, and established his camp at Frankenhausen. On May 15, 1525, the peasants were dispersed by Philip, landgrave of Hesse. Miinzer was executed on the 27th at MUhlhausen.
His Aussgetriickte Emplossung des falschen Glaubens was ed. by R. Jordan (Miihlhausen, i9o1), and a life of Miinzer, Die Histori von Thome Miintzer des Anfengers der doringischen Uffrur, has been attributed to Philip Melanchthon (Hagenau, 1525). See 0. Merx, Thomas Miinzer and Heinrich Pfeiffer (Gottingen, 1889) ; J. Zimmer mann, Thomas Miinzer (1925). The Saxon Historical Commission had (1928) in hand an edition of his letters.