Theodore (Theodoras) Beza (Théodore de Bèze or de Besze), b. 24 June 1519, d. 13 October 1605 was the successor to Calvin
. He was a violent opponent of the Anabaptists
, whereas he warmly defended the persecuted Waldenses
and Huguenots in France
. In 1557 he undertook a long journey with Guillaume Farel
in order to win the Protestant cantons of Switzerland
and the Protestant princes of Germany
to make a joint intercession to the King of France for the menaced Waldenses in Piedmont. Still more zealously he defended the French Huguenots. On the other hand, he showed no appreciation for the Anabaptist movement. He saw in the Anabaptists only heretics of the worst kind, who "preach community of women, refuse the oath, want to remove the government, and in the face of all that consider themselves sinless." To resist them he advocated the severest penalties, including death. This he stated in his famous booklet, De hœreticis a civili magistrate puniendis
(Concerning Heretics Who Should Be Punished by the Government), which was published in 1554 and was translated into many languages. Beza called the idea of religious freedom a "devilish dogma," and a "Mohammedan dogma."
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 215.
Hoffmann, Heinrich. Reformation und Gewissensfreiheit. Giessen: Töpelmann, 1932: 23, 37.
Paulus, Nikolaus. Beza im Kampf gegen die Vertreter der Toleranz, in scholarly supplement of Germania (1910): Nos. 36, 37.
|| Christian Neff
| Date Published
 Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Beza, Theodore (1519-1605)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 11 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beza,_Theodore_(1519-1605)&oldid=107158.
Neff, Christian. (1953). Beza, Theodore (1519-1605). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beza,_Theodore_(1519-1605)&oldid=107158.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia
, Vol. 1, p. 321. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press
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