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Hans Tausen

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Hans Tausen

Hans Tausen as a young man
Hans Tausen as bishop

Hans Tausen (Tavsen) (1494 – November 11, 1561), the leading theologian of the Danish Reformation in Denmark, was born at Birkende on Funen in 1494 and died in Ribe in 1561. He published the first translation of the Pentateuch into Danish in 1535.

Life

Very little is known about his childhood and youth, but apparently he was a pupil at the grammar schools at Odense and Slagelse, finally settling down as a friar in the monastery of the Order of Saint John of Antvorskov near Slagelse. After studying at Rostock, where he got the degree of a master of arts and also after being ordained as a priest, he studied for a short time at the University of Copenhagen, and was then again sent abroad by his prior, visiting, among other places, the newly founded University of Leuven in Belgium and making the acquaintance of the Dutch humanists. He was already a good linguist, understanding both Latin and Hebrew. Subsequently he translated the books of Moses from the original.

In May 1523 Tausen went to Jutland, where he continued to preach the Lutheran belief, and eventually was allowed to use the pulpit of the Saint Johns Church. At Viborg the seed sown by Tausen fell upon good soil. Very soon Hans Tausen had a large group of followers in the town.

Tausen's preaching was so revolutionary that he no longer felt safe within the Order of Saint John, so he boldly discarded his Franciscans refused to allow him to preach in their large church, the mob broke in by force. A compromise was at last arranged, whereby the friars were to preach in the forenoon and Tausen in the afternoon. The bishop, very naturally averse to these high-handed proceedings, sent armed men to the church to arrest Tausen, but the burghers, who had brought their weapons with them, drove back "the bishop's swains."

In October 1526 King

Tausen found a diligent fellow-worker in

In 1529 Tausen's "mission" at Viborg came to an end. King Frederick now recommended him to Copenhagen to preach at the church of St Nicholas, but here he found an able and intrepid opponent in Bishop Rønne. Serious disturbances thereupon ensued; and the Protestants, getting the worst of the argument, silenced their gainsayers by insulting the bishops and priests in the streets and profaning and devastating the Catholic churches. A Herredag, or Assembly of Nobles, was held at Copenhagen on 2 July 1530, ostensibly to mediate between the two conflicting confessions, but the king, from policy, and the nobility, from covetousness of the estates of the prelates, made no attempt to prevent the excesses of the Protestant rabble, openly encouraged by Tausen. On the other hand, the preachers failed to obtain the repeal of the Odense recess of 1527 which had subjected them to the spiritual jurisdiction of the prelates.

On the death of King Frederick, Tausen, at the instance of Rønne, was, at the Herredag of 1533, convicted of blasphemy and condemned to expulsion from the diocese of Sjælland, whereupon the mob rose in arms against the bishop, who would have been murdered but for the courageous intervention of Tausen, who conducted him home in safety. The noble-minded Rønne thereupon, from gratitude, permitted Tausen to preach in all his churches on condition that he moderated his tone. On the final triumph of the Reformation Tausen was appointed

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