Betz, Hans (d. 1537)
Hans Betz was a preacher and author of hymns, which were among those which formed the foundation of the Ausbund. Betz was a weaver of Eger, who joined the Upper German Anabaptists. He was baptized in 1530 above Donauwörth, by Georg Hoffner. There are no details about his work. In August 1535 he went from Eger to Auspitz in order to become acquainted with the brotherhood there. On his return he was imprisoned at Passau with 33 fellow believers, followers of Philip Weber, who were fleeing from Moravia.
In prison he wrote 12 songs (Nos. 81, 92, 104-12, and 122), which are signed "H.B." in the Ausbund. Rudolf Wolkan has proved him to be the author. "In his hymns," says Wolkan (p. 34), "Betz reveals himself, in spite of his honest trade, as a theologically well-trained man. His art of writing poetry, like that of all the Anabaptists, was acquired from the popular folksongs; for he came from their ranks." With the exception of one song (Ausbund, No. 112, "Gelobt sei Gott im höchsten Thron"), all of Betz's hymns were published in Wackernagel, Kirchenlied V, 1040-1054.
An attempt was made to induce Betz to recant, but in vain. "If he could be convinced from Scripture that he erred and a better way be shown him with foundation, he would not resist the truth; so far he had not found a better way to salvation," says the record of his trial (Wolkan, 32). He remained in prison two years longer, until death released him.
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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 319. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hege, Christian. "Betz, Hans (d. 1537)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B4926.html.
APA style: Hege, Christian. (1953). Betz, Hans (d. 1537). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B4926.html.