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DAVID JORIS

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 512 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DAVID JORIS, the common name of JAN JORISZ or JoRISZOON (c. 1501–1556), Anabaptist heresiarch who called himself later JAN VAN BRUGGE; was born in 1501 or 1502, probably in Flanders, at Ghent or Bruges. His father, Georgius Joris de Koman, other-wise Joris van Amersfoordt, probably a native of Bruges, was a shopkeeper and amateur actor at Delft; from the circumstance that he played the part of King David, his son received the name of David, but probably not in baptism. His mother was Marytje, daughter of Jan de Gorter, of a good family in Delft. As a child he was clever and delicate. He seems then or later to have acquired some tincture of learning. His first known occupation was that of a glass-painter; in 1522 he painted windows for the church at Enkhuizen, North Holland (the birthplace of Paul Potter). In pursuit of his art he travelled, and is said to have reached England; ill-health drove him homewards in 1524, in which year he married Dirckgen Willems at Delft. In the same year the Lutheran reformation took hold of him, and he began to issue appeals in prose and verse against the Mass and against the pope as antichrist. On Ascension Day 1528 he committed an outrage on the sacrament carried in procession; he was placed in the pillory, had his tongue bored, and was banished from Delft for three years. He turned to the Ana-baptists, was rebaptized in 1533, and for some years led a wandering life. He came into relations with John a Lasco, and with Menno Simons. Much influenced by Melchior Hofman, he had no sympathy with the fanatic violence of the Munster faction. At the Buckholdt conference in August 1536 he played a mediating part. His mother, in 1537, suffered martyrdom as an Anabaptist. Soon after he took up a role of his own, having visions and a gift of prophecy. He adapted in his own interest the theory (constantly recurrent among mystics and innovators, from the time of Abbot Joachim to the present day) of three dispensations, the old, with its revelation of the Father, the newer with its revelation of the Son, and the final or era of the Spirit. Of this newest revelation Christus David was the mouthpiece, supervening on Christus Jesus. From the 1st of April 1544, bringing with him some of his followers, he took up his abode in Basel, which was to be the New Jerusalem. Here he styled himself Jan van Brugge. His identity was unknown to the authorities of Basel, who had no suspicion of his heresies. By his writings he maintained his hold on his numerous followers in Holland and Friesland. These monotonous writings, all in Dutch, flowed in a continual stream from 1524 (though none is circumstances. He has also himself suffered much from the in-accuracy of copyists. But nothing has really been more unfortunate for the reputation of Jordanes as a writer than the extreme preciousness of the information which he has preserved to us. The Teutonic tribes whose dim origins he records have in the course of centuries attained to world-wide dominion. The battle in the Mauriac plains of which he is really the sole historian, is now seen to have had important bearings on the destinies of the world. And thus the hasty pamphlet of a half-educated Gothic monk has been forced into prominence, almost into rivalry with the finished productions of the great writers of classical antiquity. No wonder that it stands the comparison badly; but with all its faults the Getica of Jordanes will probably ever retain its place side by side with the De moribus Germanorum of Tacitus as a chief source of information respecting the history, institutions and modes of thought of our Teutonic forefathers.
End of Article: DAVID JORIS
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