UBBONITES, ub'-bo-naitz:

A term applied to a party of Anabaptists in a certain phase of their development. Ubbo Philipps (Ubbe or Obbe Philipzoon), b. at Leeuwarden (70 m. n.e. of Amsterdam) near the beginning of the sixteenth century, had become a Roman Catholic priest some time before Melchior Hoffmann began his propagandism in the Netherlands (1529). With multitudes of others he was persuaded that Hoffmann was a divinely inspired prophet (c. 1531), and was ready to follow him blindly in his exposition of the Old-Testament prophets and the Apocalypse and to expect speedy deliverance from the trials and persecutions that were being inflicted by Catholics and Protestants on true believers. His faith in Hoffmann was considerably shaken by his failure to go forth from his Strasburg prison in 1533, as he predicted he would, at the head of 144,000 enthusiastic believers who would set up Christ's kingdom on earth, and by his failure to keep his vow to live on bread and water until his liberation. When Jan Mathys, weary of waiting for the fulfilment of Hoffmann's promises, proclaimed himself the Elias that should usher in the messianic kingdom and ordered the resumption of baptism which Hoffmann had suspended for two years, Ubbo, who, with many others, had been awaiting Hoffmann's orders, received baptism. With his brother Dirk and Jan David Joris, he soon came to distrust Mathys with his sanguinary program and urged the infatuated people to desist from their plan of setting up the kingdom of Christ by violence in Munster. In this he had the cooperation of Menno Simons, who did not definitely become an Anabaptist until 1536. When Ubbo, Dirk, and others, after the fall of Munster (1535), saw multitudes that had been under the influence of Hoffmann and Mathys disillusioned and anxious to follow wise Evangelical counsel, they persuaded Menno to assume the leadership, and Ubbo ordained him, his brother Dirk, and David Joris, who had not yet manifested his pantheistic tendencies. During the short period from 1534 to 1536 the quiet, non-resisting Anabaptists that repudiated Mathys and the Munster kingdom might properly be called Ubbonites. After Menno's leadership became established, the name Mennonites is more applicable to the same people. Ubbo afterward deeply regretted the part he had taken in the organization of the Mennonite movement. When Menno came into recognized leadership, his intolerance of opposition in matters of doctrine and discipline, his violent denunciation of other Christian parties, and the strife that occurred among the churches of the connection proved distasteful to Ubbo, and he felt constrained to sever his relations with the Mennonites. Shortly before his death (1568) he wrote an interesting account of his life among the Anabaptists and of the circumstances that led him to break with the party. Whether he united with the Reformed when he left the Mennonites does not clearly appear from his narrative. His Bekentniss und Aussage is published in full in J. C. Jehring's Grundliche Historie von denen Begebenheiten, Streitigkeiten und Trennungen, so unter den Tauffgesinneten, oder Mennonisten von ihren Ursprung an bis aufs Jahr 1615 vorgegangen (Jena, 1720; contains lists of the writings of Dirk and Ubbo Philipps).


BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. C. Bergmann, De Ubbone Philippi et Ubbohitis, Rostock, 1733; A. H. Newman, Hist. of AntdPedobaptism, pp. 301, 304 sqq., Philadelphia, 1897.


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