Hansen, Georg (d. 1703)
Georg Hansen, an elder of the Old Flemish (Klerkse, Klärische) Mennonite congregation in Danzig, was made deacon in 1655, preacher in the same year, and elder in 1690, serving until his death, 16 January 1703. He was a cobbler by trade, widely read and gifted in speech and writing. He made the notes in the archives of the church in Danzig which report on important events in the congregation from 1667 on, which furnished the basic data for the later Danzig Mennonite Church Record 1667-1836, which, among other things, gives a complete list of ministers of the church since the days of Dirk Philips.
Hansen is also the author of several important books. One was Ein Glaubens-Bericht vor die Jugend durch einen Liebhaber der Wahrheit gestellt und ans Licht gebracht (1671), a book of 276 octavo pages (reprinted by the Mennonite Publishing Co., Elkhart, in 1893?). By clever choice of Bible verses the Christian doctrines of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the Mennonite doctrines of baptism, footwashing, mixed marriage, the ban, avoidance, revenge, and the oath, are graphically presented to the children. In the foreword to this book Hansen makes the interesting observation that the youth of Danzig read German more fluently than Dutch (Mennonitische Blätter, : 61); nevertheless the Dutch was retained in church services for another century. A more extensive book, which he finished in 1699 in the Dutch language, and which was published after his death in Amsterdam (1705), was Spiegel Des Levens, Geschreven door George Hansen, In sijn Leven Outsten der Gemeynte Godts tot Danzigh, Maar nu door eenige Beminders der Waerheyt ter eeren Godts ende stichtingh haers Naesten in Druck uytgegeven. It deals in the main with regeneration, its nature and effect. Hansen was also the author of Einfältige Antwort der Mennoniten die man Clercken nent auf den Erforscher der Wahrheit (n.p., n.d.), in which he attacked the booklet Erforscher der Wahrheit, printed in 1680. The Einfältige Antwort was not published until 1706. Hansen also published in the Dutch language the Fundamentboek, printed in 1696 at Amsterdam. It was translated into German by Elder Isaak Peters and published at Elkhart, Indiana, under the title: Ein Fundamentbuch der Christlichen Lehre, welche unter den Mennoniten in Preussen (die man zu Danzig "Clerken" nennt) gelehrt wird. The contents of this book had been approved and agreed upon by the Prussian elders on 20 January 1680. Hansen also compiled the confession of faith that is known under the title, Confession oder Kurze und einfältige Glaubensbekanntnisse derer Mennonisten in Preussen, so man nennet die Clarichen. Of this book, Schagen (Naamlijst der Doopsgezinde Schrijveren, Amsterdam, 1745: 44) mentions an edition of 1678, entitled Confessio aut Breves ac Simplices Fidei Articuli illorum Mennonistarum in Borussia, qui vulgo Clarici vocantur. His Bekenntnis des George Hansen und sein Examen was printed in German and Latin, presumably by a member of the Commission which examined him. In 1768 the Flemish congregation of Prussia published Hansen's confession of faith with a catechism and several other additions. (Mennonitische Blätter : 7, 39, 63; Mennonitisches Lexikon I: 159 f.)
In 1678, when at the orders of King John Sobiesky, 1674-1696, a religious cross-examination was held with the Mennonites of Danzig before Bishop Stanislaus Sarnowski and other spiritual dignitaries, Hansen spoke so successfully (20 January 1678) for the Flemish group that they were absolved of all suspicion of spiritual relationship with the Arians or Socinians.
Hansen placed the painter Enoch Seemann under the ban because he painted portraits. In vain Seemann protested this narrow-minded measure; he wrote a very bitter book, Qffenbarung und Bestrafung des Georgen Hansens Thorheyt, Jedermann zur brüderlichen Vermahnung und getreuen Warnung wohlmeinentlich an Tag gegeben durch einen Liebhaber der Wahrheit (Stoltzenberg, 1697). The congregation supported its elder.
Friedmann, Robert. Mennonite Piety Through the Centuries. Goshen, 1949: 130-34, 137; (here Hansen's books are analyzed as to their spiritual contents).
Hege, Christian and Neff, Christian. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 250.
Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde. Danzig, 1919: 73, 77 ff.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 653-654.. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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