2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Born into a peasant family, Jan Hus (c. 1372/73-1415) became a leader in a movement that sought to reform the church and to lessen foreign influence in Bohemia. He was educated at a Latin school and entered the University of Prague c. 1390, from which he graduated with an M.A. about six years later. He earned money as a choirboy until his election in 1401 to the philosophy faculty. He lectured on the philosophy of Aristotle and of John Wycliffe, whose theological works were not yet known in Bohemia. Hus became, the following year, the rector of Bethlehem Chapel, where he preached in the vernacular and which became a center for the nationalist movement. About this time, Jerome of Prague introduced Wycliffe's theology into Bohemia; some say this was made possible by the marriage of Richard II of England with Anne, sister of Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia.
In 1403, Hus was appointed preacher of the synod, and the university condemned 45 of Wycliffe's theological statements, especially those that concerned remanence, a belief that the bread and wine of the eucharist remain bread and wine. Although Hus did not accept this position, he did accept many of Wycliffe's propositions, including a belief that one's conduct made one worthy or unworthy of grace. Hus agreed that the Bible alone is the basis of all faith, doctrine, and teaching; he was sympathetic to predestination.
Hus attacked clerical immorality, such as the sale of indulgences . He also attacked the church for owning so much property. Summoned to Rome to defend his ideas, Hus sent representatives and was excommunicated for failure to appear. However, after he criticized John XXIII's crusade against Ladislas of Naples, John placed Prague under interdict, and Hus left the city to free it. In 1413, he published De ecclesia, the first ten chapters of which are taken from Wycliffe's writings. The Council of Constance summoned him to defend his theology. Promised safe passage by the emperor Sigismund, Hus travelled to Germany, where he was imprisoned and tried for heresy. He was burned at the stake; the University of Prague declared him a martyr. He is a national hero, and his writings in Czech are considered literary classics.
Karen Rae Keck
including the header and this copyright remain intact.