Kautz, Jacob

Kautz, Jacob, an eminent German theologian, prominent in the Anabaptist movement of the 16th century, was born at Beckenheim, Hesse Cassel, about 1500. He was a preacher at Worms when, in 1527, he identified himself with the Denk-Hetzer movement in forming a strong opposition against infant baptism. Previously to this time, Kautz had estranged himself from the Lutheran reformers by his anti-Trinitarian heresies; now he openly broke with them, and warmly welcomed the Strasburg preachers. SEE ANABAPTISTS. He published seven theses in defence of his peculiar views (comp. Arnold, Ketzekhistorie, i, 63), and for the day of Pentecost invited the Lutheran ministers to public disputation. Although yet a young man, he had already obtained great celebrity as a public speaker, and no doubt took this course in order to increase the number of his followers. But the theses of Kautz were so decidedly opposed to Lutheran christology and dogmas that the authorities interfered, incarcerated him, and finally obliged him to Quit Worms. Wandering about from place to place, we find him in July at Augsburg, later at Rothenburg, and in 1528 finally at Strasburg. Here he succeeded for a time in preaching his heretical doctrines, but in 1529, so great had his fanatical excesses become, that the city authorities felt obliged to interfere, and he was arrested and compelled to leave the city. After losing sight of him for a time, we find him in 1532 again knocking at the gates of the city of Strasburg, and vainly seeking admission. From this time all traces of him are lost, and neither the time nor the place of his death is known. Kautz was quite intimate with Capito, the eminent coadjutor of the Reformers (Ecolampadius and Bucer, and at one time it was even asserted by the Anabaptists that he had succeeded in winning him to their side. Capito, however, does not deserve this reproach. On the contrary, he did all in his power to restrain Kautz in his fanaticism. See Trechsel, Antitrinitarier, i, 13 sq.; Keim, in the Jahrb. f, deutsche Theol. i, 2, 271 sq.; Stud. und Krit. 1841, p. 1080 sq. SEE DENK; SEE HETZER. (J. H. W.)

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