BERTHOLD OF RORBACH: Heretical mystic; d. 1356. He appears first in Würzburg, where he was tried on a charge of teaching heresy, but saved himself by recantation of the doctrines attributed to him. He was again brought to trial at Speyer in 1356, but this time refused to recant and was burned. The accounts of his teaching show him as an adherent of the quietistic mysticism of the Brothers of the Free Spirit, sharing their disbelief in the meritoriousness of prayer and asceticism; those who are “enlightened by God,” laymen as well as priests, may preach the Gospel and change bread and wine into the divine substance. The strange and shocking views attributed to him on the passion of Christ can scarcely be reconciled with his other teachings, and have probably come down in a distorted form.
Bibliography: A. Jundt, Histoire du panthéisme populaire du moyen âge, p. 105, Paris, 1875; H. Haupt, Die religiösen Sekten in Franken, p. 8, Würzburg, 1882.