Friday, March 25, 2011

Digitalization just in time: Andreas Schoppe, Christliche und Nötige Warnung für dem erdichten Lügengeist der falschen Propheten (1596)

This week the Universitätsbibliothek Halle released a digital facsimile of Schoppe’s Christliche und Nötige Warnung (and of the 1597 edition of the same work under a different title). This comes at just the right time, as I had been hoping to consult it for my article on Wilhelm Friess ever since seeing a reference to it in Robin Barnes’s Prophecy and Gnosis. I’ve been debating whether I should order a facsimile or if I could wait for Halle’s ongoing digitalization project to make it available.

Halle finally came through, and Schoppe turns out to hold a few surprises. Unsurprisingly, Schoppe thinks that many of Friess’s predictions for 1558-1563 failed to come true. What’s more surprising is that Schoppe sees the devil’s handiwork in Friess’s prediction of a righteous emperor who will suppress all heretics and reconquer the Holy Land before giving up his crown; Schoppe objects that a truly righteous emperor should remain in office and continue to govern effectively. But what Schoppe is objecting to is simply the well-known Last World Emperor motif from the standard medieval End Time narrative. There are both chronological and ideological boundaries between “Wilhelm Friess” in 1558 and Schoppe in 1596. On one side, the Last World Emperor is still firmly a part of the eschatological future; on the other, a Last World Emperor is scarcely imaginable.

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