Book Burning and Censorship - JOHN HUS BURNS

This medieval-era image depicts the final moments of Jan (John) Hus. It is online via Columbia University.


A scholar in Prague, John Hus, read Wycliffe's books. Hus copied them and became very vocal about his beliefs.

Then ... he wrote his own books and told fellow parishioners that the Church didn't really have much authority over their daily lives. Hus convinced people, for example, that  nothing in the Bible required them to buy Indulgences from the Church.

When people stopped buying Indulgences, the Pope—who used indulgence proceeds to finance a military campaign against the King of Naples—was furious. He excommunicated Hus and put the entire city of Prague under an interdict, thereby forbidding anyone from taking the sacraments.

Hus continued to speak his mind. He condemned the excessive lifestyles of the clergy, including the Pope. He told people not to listen to priests who didn't give Bible-based instruction.

In response, the Church convened the Council of Constance to interrogate Hus, among other significant matters. Although Hus was guaranteed safe passage, the guarantee was a lie.

Hus was arrested and tried by the Council. He was formally condemned and handed over to the secular authorities to be burned at the stake. The Council also issued an Order to disinter the remains of John Wycliffe and burn them, too.

On July 6, 1415, as John Hus (whose name means "goose" in his native Czech) made his way to the place of execution, the authorities made him pass by a bonfire where his books were burning.

Hus was unafraid and predicted the Protestant Reformation with almost uncanny accuracy. Some of his last words were:

You are going to burn a goose but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.

He was off by only two years.

Hus' ashes were cast into the Rhine; Wycliffe's were dumped into the English River Swift in 1428. (One of Wycliffe's followers, Sir John Oldcastle, was first hanged and then literally roasted to death in 1417.)

But ... Hus' ideas lived on, and some of the people who adopted his thinking ultimately immigrated to America where they established the towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Other scholars continued his work in Europe.

William Tyndale was one of those scholars.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jul 04, 2019

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"JOHN HUS BURNS" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2000. Feb 27, 2020.
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