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Zelis (Zilis, Zielis, Sielis, Zylis), or Zelis Jacobs, a Mennonite elder, a native of Monschau in the Eiffel, Germany, was from c1554 active in Cologne and along the Rhine as far as Strasbourg. This simple man, a charcoal burner, was a powerful apostle, evangelist, and leader of the church; he also trained ministers. In early 1557, when the Dutch elders Leenaert Bouwens, Dirk Philips, and Menno Simons had begun to practice rigorous banning (see Ban), Zelis, Lemken, and other elders, then usually called High German Mennonites, found themselves unable to agree with them. Zelis and Lemken attacked particularly Menno, accusing him in a letter of 1557 (found in DB (1894)) of leaving his former tolerant views to approve marital avoidance. Menno answered in Grontlijcke Onderwys oft Bericht van de Excommunkatie (1558) and, after a second letter of Zelis and Lemken, in Antwoort . . . op Zylis ende Lemmekens . . . Faemrooven (1560). In the meantime a large conference of German elders meeting at Strasbourg in 1557 opposed marital avoidance and overly strict banning. In 1559 Dirk Philips and Leenaert Bouwens traveled to South Germany to ban Zelis, Lemken, and the High Germans.

After 1559 there is no information about Zelis; he probably died in 1565. Zelis Jacobs is not identical with Zilles Leitgen Kremers, who stayed at Münster in 1534.

[edit] Bibliography

Bax, W. Het Protestantisme in het bisdom Luik I. The Hague, 1937: 302 f., note.

Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: vol. VII, 56, 61, 87, 220, 222, 527.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1894): 36 f., 47-53, 58, 60 f.

Krahn, C. Menno Simons. Karlsruhe, 1936: 95-97.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: vol. I, 318-28.

Der Mennonit 9 (1956): No. 1: 10.

Rembert, Karl. Die "Wiedertäufer" im Herzogtum Jülich. Berlin: R. Gaertners Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1899: 458 f., 501 f.

Vos, K. Menno Simons. Leiden, 1914; 135f., 142 f., 191, 253 f.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Zelis Jacobs (d. ca. 1565)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 29 Mar 2015.

APA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Zelis Jacobs (d. ca. 1565). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 March 2015, from

Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1022-1023. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.

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