Gnapheus, Guilhelmus (1493-1568)

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Guilhelmus Gnapheus (Fullonius or Willem van Hage), b. 1493, at The Hague, Netherlands, d. 1568 at Norden, East Friesland, Germany, was appointed rector of the Latin School at The Hague in 1522 but already in 1523 was forced to leave because of anti-Catholic ideas. In 1525 he was for some time in prison at The Hague, but was later released. After much wandering he settled at Elbing, West Prussia, in 1531, where he became rector of the Gymnasium (Latin School) in 1535. But in 1541 there was a conflict and Gnapheus moved to Königsberg in the duchy of Prussia (later East Prussia); here he became a schoolteacher and a preacher, but he was dismissed and even excommunicated on 9 June 1547, by the Lutheran government, charged with Anabaptism and fanaticism. After some years he was reinstated, the charges having been proved false. By that time he had already moved to Norden in East Friesland (about 1560), where he became burgomaster. Besides numerous other books, he wrote a fine evangelical treatise, Een troost ende Spiegel der siecken ende derghenen die in lijdn zijn, first edition in 1531. Gnapheus, who was not an Anabaptist but a humanist, Sacramentist, and adherent of Bullinger, may by his ideas of toleration have prepared the opportunity for Anabaptists and Mennonites to settle in East Prussia.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 322.

Szper, F. Nederlandsche Nederzettingen in West-Pruisen gedurende den Poolschen tyd. Enkhuizen, 1913: 62-65, 78, 81-84, 192-195.

Visscher, H. and L. A. van Langeraad. Biographisch Woordenboek von Protestantsche Godgeleerden in Nederland. Utrecht, 1903-: III, 269-272.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Gnapheus, Guilhelmus (1493-1568)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 3 Jul 2020.,_Guilhelmus_(1493-1568)&oldid=145808.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1956). Gnapheus, Guilhelmus (1493-1568). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 July 2020, from,_Guilhelmus_(1493-1568)&oldid=145808.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 533. All rights reserved.

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