Herman Timmerman (d. 1569)

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Herman (Harman) (de) Timmerman (Herman van der Greyn), an Anabaptist martyr, after threefold torture was burned at the stake at Antwerp, Belgium, on 25 May 1569, together with three other martyrs. Herman, who was a native of Borchher in the bishopric of Liége, was arrested at Antwerp, where he lived as a carpenter, shortly after 3 March 1569. He was 35 years of age and had been baptized at Berchem near Antwerp by Lenaert, "a countryman" (Leenaert Bouwens?), in 1556, when he was 23 years old. During his trials he denied the validity of infant baptism, since only believer's baptism is Scriptural; he had been chosen as deacon (dienaer der aermen) by the congregation, and for want of preachers he also delivered sermons (vermaningen), but he never baptized or laid hands upon a person. During his tortures he prayed, "O Lord, keep my mouth closed," and did not betray any of the brethren. So he died as a hero, loyal and faithful.

Some doubt has arisen whether this Herman Timmerman the martyr might be the same person as the Elder Herman de Timmerman. They are probably identical, though it is somewhat strange that an elder never baptized, administered communion, or ordained new preachers or elders, as Herman said in his confession. S. Cramer (BRN II, 623) calls him elder of the Waterlanders at Antwerp; according to K. Vos (p. 191) he was not an elder but merely a preacher. Of his activity as elder or preacher not much is known. In 1568 he performed the marriage of Pieter Verlonge at Antwerp. He may have been ordained in 1566. During the schism in this year between Frisian and Flemish Mennonites in Friesland (see Flemish Mennonites) Herman took a moderate view as he had done before (in 1560) when Menno Simons and Dirk Philips decided for a strict practice of banning and shunning, enunciated in Menno's Een gans grontlycke onderwijs oft bericht van der excommunicatie (1558) and Dirk Philips' Een lieflijke Vermaninghe (1558). Then Herman countered with Een verklaringhe: hoe en in wat manieren de Heere Jesus zijnen Jongeren in der af-zonderinge macht gegeven haeft, om die onbek Overtreders zijne goddelycken woorts . . . hare sonden hier op der aerden te binden . . . (published 28 January 1560, n.p., and reprinted 1618 at Haarlem).

Besides this book Herman also wrote Een corte Bekentenisse ende grondighe aenwijsinghe wt der H. Schrift dat Godt (Vader) Soon ende Heylighe Gheest een onverscheyden Godt is . . . (1577, n.p., likely edited by Nicolaas Biestkens at Amsterdam), reprinted 1578 and inserted in van Braght, Martyrs' Mirror. Herman Timmerman is also thought to be the author of a song celebrating 41 martyrs who died in Ghent 1562-1569. This hymn was included in his Een corte Bekentenisse and is also found in the Liedtboecxken van den Offer des Heeren (1578 and following editions). Cramer, the editor of the Offer des Heeren and Liedtboecxken, supposes that Herman de Timmerman is not the author of this hymn.


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doops-gesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om 't getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, ... , 1685: II, 415-419. 

Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm: 766-770.

Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: II, 623; X, 23, 34 f., 654.

Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Herren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1570. The 1570 edition is cited as reproduced in BRN II., 51-486, including Een Lietboecxken, tracterende van den Offer des Heeren (pp. 499-617):623, 649 note.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1864): 126; (1881): 39; (1882): 53; (1894): 58.

Génard, Petrus. Antwerpsch archievenblad: XII, 364, 371 ff., 382, 400, 405, 436; XIII, 23; XIV, 64 f., No. 724.

Haeghen, Ferdinand vander, Thomas Arnold and R. Vanden Berghe. Bibliographie des Martyrologes Protestants Néerlandais. II. Receuils. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1890: I, 161-169, 656, 709-713.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 327, 350.

Visscher, H. and L. A. van Langeraad. Het protestantsche vaderland: biographisch woordenboek van protestantsche godgeleerden in Nederland, 8 vols. Utrecht, 1903-1918: III, 742 f.

Vos, Karel. De Doopsgezinden te Antwerpen in de zestiende eeuw.  Reprint from Bulletin de la Commission Royale de Belgique 84 (1920): 332 f., 351-354.

Vos, Karel. Menno Simons, 1496-1561, zijn leven en werken en zijne reformatorische denkbeelden. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1914: see Index.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Herman Timmerman (d. 1569)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Herman_Timmerman_(d._1569)&oldid=100472.

APA style

van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1956). Herman Timmerman (d. 1569). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Herman_Timmerman_(d._1569)&oldid=100472.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 710. All rights reserved.

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