Haug, Jörg (16th century)
Jörg Haug (Hauch, Haugk, Hawg), of Juchsen (Thuringia), a friend of Hans Hut and the author of a devotional tract of 1524 which became very popular among the Anabaptists. About his life we know only what Hans Hut stated at the hearing before the city court of Augsburg in 1527. During the time of the great Peasants' War in Thuringia (1524-1525) the peasants had burned down the castle of the Lord of Bibra, and had made Jörg Haug (apparently he himself was also a peasant from nearby Juchsen) the preacher of the village of Bibra. Late in May 1525, soon after the final collapse of the peasants, Haug invited Hans Hut, the former sexton of that parish, to preach to his congregation about baptism, a theme everyone was most eager to learn about (Meyer, 250).
Haug's tract bears the title, Eine christliche Ordnung eines wahrhaften Christen zu verantworten die Ankunft seines Glaubens (or shortened: Anfang eines christlichen Lebens), 1524, a pamphlet of 12 leaves 4°. Its motto is I Peter 3:15, so popular among Anabaptists. The idea of the tract is that a Christian life has to run through different stages of growth in order to arrive finally at the point of perfection where the mind becomes completely conformed to Christ, and may now experience "the right Sabbath where the Spirit resteth" (Isaiah 11). The gradual ascent to this goal is described by seven types of mindedness or spirit; namely, the spirit of reverence, of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of strength, of patience, and of godliness. Haug concludes with the following summary (Müller, 10): Gott fürchten von Herzen ist Weisheit, Das Böse meiden ist Verstand, Verstand göttlicher Liebe gebiert Glauben, und ist gut denen, die ihn tun, Sich nicht verrücken lassen ist Rat, Sich selbst überwinden ist Stärke, Alles in Gott richten und tragen ist Kunst, Christo Jesu ähnlich werden und gleichgesinnt sein, ist Gottseligkeit. Da ruhet alles und ist der rechte Sabbath, den Gott von uns erfordert, dem die ganze Welt aber widerstrebt.
The tract is remarkable in many ways. Written in 1524 at the height of the peasants' success, it completely neglects their revolutionary ideas and turns radically to the teaching of spiritual growth in love and obedience. "The fear of God brings forth obedience. Love brings forth the right faith, and faith worketh through love. Love, however, is the fulfillment of the law" (Müller, 8). This speaks strongly for an understanding of the peasant movement of the 1520's not primarily as a socioeconomic affair but as a deeply religious longing for the right Christian way. As Hut stated in the report (above), "They were running after him to learn about [right] baptism, and everybody wanted to be instructed on that point." Second, the book was written before genuine Anabaptism began; the influence of Thomas Müntzer is possible but not certain. Yet its spirit of obedience, love, and self-conquest (Geist der Stärke) is exactly the spirit of the later Anabaptism. And what Haug calls Geist der Kunst, namely, to bear everything in God, is rather close to the idea of Gelassenheit or self-surrender, again central in Anabaptist thinking.
Thus it is not surprising that the booklet saw four editions (Keller, Reformation, 433), and was also copied many times by the Hutterites. From such a Hutterite manuscript book (in Esztergom) Lydia Müller published excerpts in her Glaubens zeugnisse; unfortunately, no complete modern reprint is available.
Keller, Ludwig. Die Reformation und die älteren Reformparteien: in ihrem Zusammenhange dargestellt. Leipzig : S. Hirzel, 1885: 433.
Meyer, Christian. "Die Anfänge des Wiedertäufertums in Augsburg." Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereins für Schwaben und Neuburg XIX (1874): 250 (document XIX).
Müller, L. Glaubenszeugnisse oberdeutscher Taufgesinnter. Leipzig, 1938: 3-10.
Cite This Article
Friedmann, Robert. "Haug, Jörg (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 18 Nov 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Haug,_J%C3%B6rg_(16th_century)&oldid=140963.
Friedmann, Robert. (1956). Haug, Jörg (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 November 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Haug,_J%C3%B6rg_(16th_century)&oldid=140963.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 679. All rights reserved.
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