Jonas, Justus (1493-1555)

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Justus Jonas was a humanist, theologian and co-worker with Luther. In 1521 he was appointed professor of canon law at the University of Wittenberg, accompanied Luther to the Reichstag at Worms, and supported him in his translation of the Bible and in church inspection. He introduced the Reformation at Halle in 1541.

In his views on the Anabaptists, Jonas shared fully the view prevailing at Wittenberg. When Emperor Charles V issued his edict against the Anabaptists on 4 January 1528, which became the pattern for similar laws in many countries making adherence to an Anabaptist group punishable by death, and Melanchthon published his booklet, Adversus Anabaptistas Judicium, Jonas at once translated this attack on the Anabaptists into German, with the title: Unterricht Philip. Melan. Wider die Lere der Widerteuffer aus dem latin verdeudschet, durch Just. Jonas. He dedicated the book to Michael Meienburg, city secretary of Nordhausen, to whom Jonas wrote on 3 February 1538, that he hoped it would aid many pious hearts and consciences disturbed by such false doctrine, and that lovers of the Gospel would gladly read it and thank God for such powerful, gracious preservation of the pure doctrine and divine truth (Kawerau, 118). In 1539 he was one of the instigators of the church inspection in Saxony and wrote the local Kirchenordnung.

Melanchthon's arguments were not accepted in all theological circles. The Swabian reformer Johannes Brenz wrote a reply to the book, which denied the government the right to punish the Anabaptists with death for their faith.

Jonas did not play an important part in the further opposition to the Anabaptists.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 432.

Kawerau, Gustav. Der Briefwechsel des Justus Jonas I. Halle: Hendel, 1884.

Pressel, Theodor. Justus Jonas: nach gleichzeitigen Quellen. Elberfeld: Friderichs, 1862

Weingarten, A. Zeittafel zur Kirchengeschichte. 1905: 117.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Jonas, Justus (1493-1555)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 28 Jul 2021.,_Justus_(1493-1555)&oldid=144187.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1957). Jonas, Justus (1493-1555). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 July 2021, from,_Justus_(1493-1555)&oldid=144187.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 118-119. All rights reserved.

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