JORIS (or JORISZOON, "the son of George"), JAN DAVID: Dutch Anabaptist; b., probably at Ghent or Bruges, 1501 or 1502; d. at Basel Aug. 25, 1556. He was originally a glass-painter, but was of an adventurous disposition, and after long wanderings abroad settled in Delft and married. An ultra-enthusiast, he eagerly embraced the Reformation, circulated hymns and tracts, and violently assailed the priesthood and the mass. In 1528 he publicly insulted a religious procession, for which he was imprisoned, pilloried, flogged, and had his tongue burned through, in addition to being banished for three years. He then joined the Anabaptists, among whom he speedily became prominent, although he disapproved the Anabaptist insurrection at Münster (q.v.) and openly opposed Battenburg, the leader of the extreme radicals. After the fall of Münster, Joris sought to reunite the Anabaptist factions, but his success was only temporary, and he was attacked by sectaries of all shades. On the other hand, enthusiasts called him "the hallowed of the Lord," and proclaimed him a prophet and bringer of judgment, so that in 1536 he himself became convinced of his divine mission. At the same time he began to have visions, and gradually gathered about him a circle of followers (the "Davidists") who trusted him implicitly, even forming a distinct Anabaptist sect with a chiliastic basis. The chief centers of its activity were Oldenburg, eastern Friesland, and the Netherlands, but after 1538 the authorities sharply opposed it, and many of its adherents were executed. Joris himself, however, repeatedly escaped in such remarkable ways as to give rise to the belief that he could make himself invisible. Meanwhile he was untiring in his activity. He had already had much success among the followers of Battenburg, and for a time among the Anabaptists of Münster, but the adherents of Melchior Hoffmann in Strasburg, like Johannes a Lasso and Menno Simons, rejected his overtures. The Landgrave Philip of Hesse, on the other hand, granted him protection on condition of his accepting the Augsburg Confession. His unceasing personal propaganda was aided by his numerous writings, of which the most important was his t'Wonderboeck, waerin dat van der wereldt aan, versloten gheopenbaert is (Deventer [?], 1542), a jumbled mass of fantasy, mystery, and allegory.

With the amassing of wealth from his adherents and the despair of gaining a great following, a new period began in the career of Joris. In Aug., 1544, he appeared at Basel under the name of John of Bruges, a rich and distinguished fugitive from Holland for the sake of the Gospel. He was accepted as a citizen, led an irreproachable religious life, was conspicuous for his charities, and acquired considerable property, including a small castle at Binningen. His propaganda was now restricted to writing mystic treatises and epistles to his followers, whom he urged to conform externally to the existing Church. On the other hand, he was in touch with opponents of the dominant Church, pleading for Servetus in an anonymous petition of 1553, writing to Schwenekfeld (though he opposed his deification of the humanity of Christ), and being acquainted with Castellio. The identity of "John of Bruges" with the Dutch Anabaptist Jan David Joris was not discovered until three years after his death and burial. In Apr., 1559, the University of Basel condemned Joris as a heretic and on May 13 his body was exhumed and burned, together with his books and portrait. His Basel adherents were obliged to do penance in the cathedral on June 6, but in Holstein and Holland the sect lingered, heresy-trials of the Davidists occurring as late as the end of the sixteenth century.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A favorably partizan account is given by G. Arnold, Kirchen- und Ketzer-Historie, 4 vols., Frankfort, 1700-15, corrected by the critical discussion of Nippold, in ZHT, 1863, 1864, 1868. Joris' biography was written by A. van der Linde, The Hague, 1867, cf. Bibliophile Belge, 1865, pp. 137, 158, 1866, pp. 129 sqq. On his teaching consult A. Jundt, Histoire du panthéisme, pp. 164 sqq., Strasburg, 1875.


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