In November 1533 Jan Beukelszoon joined the Anabaptists, being baptized by Jan Matthijsz van Haarlem. Soon his house in Leiden became a center of Anabaptist activity. Cornelis Pieters wt den Briel and other leaders preached and baptized there. In December 1533 Jan Beukelszoon was sent out by Jan Matthijsz as an apostle to preach the Gospel, and first visited Alkmaar, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, then Den Briel and Rotterdam. Until this time the Anabaptist views of Jan Beukelszoon did not much differ from those of other Dutch leaders, who preached the coming of the kingdom of God, which the faithful had to wait and pray for, but under the influence of Jan Matthijsz he abandoned the peaceful principles.
On 13 January 1534 he arrived in Münster, where he had paid a short visit in July 1533. He soon obtained much influence in Münster, though then other leaders like Rothmann and especially Jan Matthysz, who came to Münster in February 1534, predominated. But after the death of Jan Matthijsz at Easter 1534, Jan Beukelszoon's influence increased and before July 1534 he reigned with absolute power. He organized the defense of the city against the army of Franz von Waldeck, Bishop of Münster, who had laid siege to the city. Communism of goods had been practiced since February 1534; in July of this year polygamy was introduced and in early September Jan van Leyden (Beukelszoon) was appointed King of Zion (or New Jerusalem). In the meanwhile Jan Beukelszoon tried to strengthen the defense forces also by inviting the Anabaptists of the Netherlands and elsewhere, first by promises, then by threats that the world would perish and only those in the holy city of Münster would be saved. With much exertion and a surprising skill he defended the city against the episcopal army until the city was taken on 25 June 1535.
Jan van Leyden (Beukelszoon), who had hidden in a cellar, was found and arrested. For a few months he was sent from one German dynastic residence to another as a curiosity. Then he was sentenced to death and executed in a very cruel way at Münster on 22 January 1536. There is a portrait of Jan van Leyden (Beukelszoon) in copper engraving by Heinrich Aldegrever, and an oil painting both of Jan and Queen Divara by Herman tom Ring (now in the Museum of Schwerin, Germany).
Some of the abundant literature dealing both with Jan van Leyden (Beukelszoon) and the Münster period of Anabaptism in general is recorded in the article on Münster.
Cornelius, C. A. Berichte der Augenzeugen über das Münsterische Wiedertäuferreich. Münster, 1853.
Detmer, H. Johann von Leiden, seine Persönlichkeit und seine Stellung im Münsterischen Reiche. Münster, 1903.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 240.
Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, Nos. 52, 82, 141.
Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: especially 78-185.
Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J. B. Wolters, 1954: See Index.
Schubert, H. v. Der Kommunismus der Wiedertäufer in Münster und seine Quellen. Heidelberg, 1919.
The numerous novels and dramas which have been written on this subject are surveyed by:
Rauch, W. Johann von Leyden, der König von Sion, in der Dichtung. Münster, 1912.
Hermsen, Hugo. Die Wiedertäufer zu Münster in der deutschen Dichtung. Stuttgart, 1913.
|Author(s)||Nanne van der Zijpp|
 Cite This Article
van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Beukelszoon, Jan (ca. 1509-1536)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 10 Dec 2013. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beukelszoon,_Jan_(ca._1509-1536)&oldid=103529.
van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1957). Beukelszoon, Jan (ca. 1509-1536). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 December 2013, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beukelszoon,_Jan_(ca._1509-1536)&oldid=103529.
Herald Press website.
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