1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Joris, David
JORIS, DAVID, the common name of Jan Jorisz or Joriszoon (c. 1501-1556), Anabaptist heresiarch who called himself later Jan van Brugge; was born in 1501 or 1502, probably in Flanders, at Ghent or Bruges. His father, Georgius Joris de Koman, otherwise Joris van Amersfoordt, probably a native of Bruges, was a shopkeeper and amateur actor at Delft; from the circumstance that he played the part of King David, his son received the name of David, but probably not in baptism. His mother was Marytje, daughter of Jan de Gorter, of a good family in Delft. As a child he was clever and delicate. He seems then or later to have acquired some tincture of learning. His first known occupation was that of a glass-painter; in 1522 he painted windows for the church at Enkhuizen, North Holland (the birthplace of Paul Potter). In pursuit of his art he travelled, and is said to have reached England; ill-health drove him home wards in 1524, in which year he married Dirckgen Willems at Delft. In the same year the Lutheran reformation took hold of him, and he began to issue appeals in prose and verse against the Mass and against the pope as Antichrist. On Ascension Day 1528 he committed an outrage on the sacrament carried in procession; he was placed in the pillory, had his tongue bored, and was banished from Delft for three years. He turned to the Anabaptists, was re baptized in 1533, and for some years led a wandering life. He came into relations with John rt Lasco, and with Menno Simons. Much influenced by Melchior Hofman, he had no sympathy with the fanatic violence of the Munster faction. At the Buckholdt conference in August 1536 he played a mediating part. His mother, in 1537, suffered martyrdom as an Anabaptist. Soon after he took up a role of his own, having visions and a gift of prophecy. He adapted in his own interest the theory (constantly recurrent among mystics and innovators, from the time of Abbot Joachim to the present day) of three dispensations, the old, with its revelation of the Father, the newer with its revelation of the Son, and the final or era of the Spirit. Of this newest revelation Christus David was the mouthpiece, supervening on Christus Jesus. From the first of April 1544, bringing with him some of his followers, he took up his abode in Basel, which was to be the New Jerusalem. Here he styled himself Jan van Brugge. His identity was unknown to the authorities of Basel, who had no suspicion of his heresies. By his writings he maintained his hold on his numerous followers in Holland and Friesland. These monotonous writings, all in Dutch, flowed in a continual stream from 1524 (though none is extant before 1529) and amounted to over 200 in number. His magnum opus was 'T Wonder Boeck (n.d. 1542, divided into two parts; 1551, handsomely reprinted, divided into four parts; both editions anonymous). Its chief claim to recognition is its use, in the latter part, of the phrase Restitutio Christi, which apparently suggested to Servetus his title Christianismi Restitutio (1553). In the 1st edition is a figure of the “new man,” signed with the author's monogram, and probably drawn as a likeness of himself; it fairly corresponds with the alleged portrait, engraved in 1607, reproduced in the appendix to A. Ross's Pansebeia (1655), and idealized by P. Burckhardt in 1900. Another work, Verklaringe der Scheppenissen (1553) treats mystically the book of Genesis, a favourite theme with Boehme, Swedenborg and others. His remaining writings exhibit all that easy dribble of triumphant muddiness which disciples take as depth. His wife died on the 22nd of August, and his own death followed on the 25th of August 1556. He was buried, with all religious honours, in the church of St Leonard, Basel. Three years later, Nicolas Blesdijk, who had married his eldest daughter Jannecke (Susanna), but had lost confidence in Jorisz some time before his death, denounced the dead man to the authorities of Basel. An investigation was begun in March 1559, and as the result of a conviction for heresy the exhumed body of Jorisz was burned, together with his portrait, on the 13th of May 1559. Blesdijk's Historia (not printed till 1642) accuses Jorisz of having plures uxores. Of this there is no confirmation. Theoretically Jorisz regarded polygamy as lawful; there is no proof that his theory affected his own practice.