Friday, June 17, 2011

The late, late Toledo Letter (again)

A while back, I ran into a 1629 work that seemed to be arguing against the validity of a recently-published edition of the "Toledo Letter," which was a bit surprising, as that prophecy dates to the late 12th century, and Gerd Mentgen's 2005 book Astrologie und Öffentlichkeit im Mittelalter didn't record any appearances after the early 16th century. I didn't see any likely candidates for the edition in question at the time, but this week I ran into it:
Prognosticon. So mit vornehmer Astronomorum Calculation, auff das 1629. Jahr gerichtet / und der Römischen Key: May: zugesendet worden. Neben einem Prognostico so dem ChnrFürsten von Sachsen/ durch gelartte Leute und Astrologos ist zugesand worden. [n.p.], 1629. VD17 23:332291K
The pamphlet is only two leaves, so the "Schlüsselseiten" include the whole work.

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Title art for Printing and Prophecy has been proposed. The University of Michigan Press marketing department wants some detailed information. Page proofs are on their way. Exciting! But since my semester isn't over until July 21, things could get tricky for a few weeks. Posting may be light.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Prophet Martin Luther

Browsing through Robert Kolb's For all the Saints (1987), I saw that he identifies three writers in the mid-16th century who treat Martin Luther as a foreteller of the future and see Luther's writings as predictions that correspond to their present moment or to the world's end. "How many more examples of Lutheran writers treating Luther as a prophet are there?" I asked myself. So I turned to VD16/17 to see what a quick search would turn up.

I thought it would only take a moment.

Instead, it turns out that there is an explosion of Luther-as-Prophet after 1550 from the most esteemed and the most marginal writers of the time. Even excluding works that merely praise Luther as a prophet, there are several dozen editons. A preliminary search finds the following, in roughly chronological order:

  1. Johannes Timann (Amsterdamus), Prophetiae aliquot verae... (1550, plus another Latin edition and a German translation in 1552)
  2. Georg Buchholzer, Drei Sermon D. Martini Lutheri... (1552)
  3. Anton Otto, Etliche Prophecezsprüche D. Martini Lutheri... (1552)
  4. Andreas Musculus, Weissagung D. Martini Lutheri... (1556)
  5. Martin Glaser, Hundert und zwanzig Propheceyunge oder Weissagung... (1557, with an expansion to 200 prophecies in 1574, and a reprint of the 120 prophecies in 1628)
  6. Georg Walther, Prophezeiungen D. Martini Lutheri (1559)
  7. Ein newes Lied...Prophecey D. Lutheri seligen von dem damals noch verborgenen / numehr aber geoffenbarten Eseln...(1560)
  8. Nicolaus von Amsdorff, Ein Predigt aus den Schrifften Lutheri uber die Propheten gezogen... (1562)
  9. Eyne Prophetische warninge / und gelick alse eyn Testament D. M. Luthers (1562)
  10. Basilius Faber, Allerley Christliche nötige und nützliche unterrichtungen von den letzten Hendeln der Welt... (1564, 1565, 1567)
  11. Cyriacus Spangenberg, Die Vierde Predigt Von dem grossen Propheten Gottes / Doctore Martino Luthero... (1564, and many other sermons that might just be praising Luther as a prophet)
  12. Practica und Prognosticon / Oder Schreckliche Propheceiung D. Martin Luthers... (1578, three 1592 editions, 1593, 1595, 1608)
  13. Johannes Lapaeus, Warhafftige Prophezeiungen des thewren Propheten / und heiligen Manns Gottes / D. Martini Lutheri... (1578, 1592)
  14. Propheceyunge Doctor Martini Lutheri / von hernach gefolgten Irrthumben... (1579)
I'll stop there, but the list keeps going much farther. Quite possibly someone has already collected all this material and figured out how all the works relate to each other. If not, someone should write an article about it.

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[UPDATE] In fact, Robert Kolb wrote a whole book about it: Kolb, Robert. Martin Luther as Prophet, Teacher, and Hero: Images of the Reformer, 1520-1620. Baker Academic, 1999.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Digital edition of the week

Earlier this week, the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt (Halle) released a digital facsimile of Hans Lufft's 1527 Wittenberg edition of Johannes Lichtenberger's Prognosticatio. This was the first edition of Stephan Roth's new German translation of the Prognosticatio, and the edition to which Martin Luther contributed a preface, so it's an essential source for the study of Lichtenberger and prophetic texts in the 16th century. There hadn't been a digital version available until now, so even very recent articles had needed to cite Luther's preface from Aby Warburg's edition, which Warburg included as an appendix to his 1919 "Heidnisch-antike Weissagung in Wort und Bild zu Luthers Zeiten."