Deelen, Wouter (ca. 1500-1563)

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Wouter Deelen (Gualterus Delenus) (ca. 1500-­1563), was born in Balen in the province of Antwerp in Brabant. He registered at the University of Leuven ( Louvain) on 4 April 1516. He made a trip to Wittenberg in Germany before or during 1522. Following graduation he taught Greek and Hebrew in Haarlem, 1523-1527. In July 1533 he was appointed professor in Amsterdam where he taught the biblical languages in the Chambers of Rhetoric on the basis of Old and New Testament exegesis. Through his interpretation of the gospel of John, specifically chapter 6:51b, he was suspected of Lutheran and Anabaptist heresy, and his appointment was terminated on 1 May 1535. It appears that he became involved in the 10 May 1535 uprising in Amsterdam unwittingly through his participation in a secret meeting of significant Anabaptist leaders, including the Münster Anabaptist leader Jan van Geelen. The purpose of this meeting seems to have been to explore the possibility of finding a peaceful way in which governance of the Anabaptist city of Münster could be transferred to the Habsburg government in Brussels.

He escaped to England via Haarlem, becoming a librarian of sorts to Henry VIII. Various extant theological manuscripts can he traced to his London period. His Novum Testamentum appeared in London 1540, being a reworking of Erasmus' Latin translation of the New Testament. In 1550 Edward VI named him, with Marten Micronius, deacon of the Dutch refugee congregation in London (Austin Friars). Following the death of Edward VI (1553), Delenus fled England together with other Protestants. He settled in Emden. Here he assisted J. Utenhove in the correcting of his translation of the New Testament into Dutch and edited the Dutch translation of Sleidanus' De statu religionis commentarii. After Elisabeth I succeeded Mary Tudor in England (1558) Delenus returned to London in 1559 where he died in 1563.


Wijnman, H. F. "Wouter Deelen, de eerste professor in het Hebreeuwsch te Amsterdam." Jaarboek Amstelodanum 22 (1939): 43-65.

Trapman, J. "Delenus en de bijbel." Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis 56 (1975): 95-113.

de Jonge, H.J. "Caro in spiritum: Delenus en zijn uitleg van Joh. 6:51." in De Geest in het geding, Oosterbaan Festschrift, ed. I. B. Horst and others. Alphen aan den Rijn: H. D. Tjeenk Willink, 1978: 145-166.

Author(s) Sjouke Voolstra
Date Published 1988

Cite This Article

MLA style

Voolstra, Sjouke. "Deelen, Wouter (ca. 1500-1563)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1988. Web. 15 Jun 2021.,_Wouter_(ca._1500-1563)&oldid=87045.

APA style

Voolstra, Sjouke. (1988). Deelen, Wouter (ca. 1500-1563). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from,_Wouter_(ca._1500-1563)&oldid=87045.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 221-222. All rights reserved.

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