Friday, January 27, 2012


Although Johannes de Rupescissa was one of the most influential prophetic figures and transmitters of Joachite ideas during the later Middle Ages, I barely mention him in Printing and Prophecy because his prophetic works were not printed. I've recently discovered, however, that Rupescissa's 1356 Vademecum in tribulatione is the principle source for the End Time narrative in the first version of "Wilhelm Friess."

It would be nice to know what the German reception of Rupescissa looked like in the sixteenth cetury, but Hubert Herkommer points out in his Verfasserlexikon article that this is still an unexplored area, and I don't know of any publications since Herkommer's article to change that. Apart from the few German manuscripts of the Vademecum listed by Herkommer, there are at a minimum excerpts from Matthias Flacius and Wolfgang Lazius.

And for the Vademecum, the text itself is difficult to find. The only printed edition of the Vademecum, and the edition still used for citation, was printed over 300 years ago in Edward Brown's second volume of the Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum. There is, fortunately, a digital facsimile from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, but in some ways it makes the lack of a reliable critical edition all the more apparent. In the margins of Brown's volume, the editor adds several marginal comments about the poor state of the manuscript and the inadequacy of the assistant who transcribed it. For example (my rough translations):
Something is missing, or badly written.
All of these things are confused, partly because of the scribe's flaws, and partly because of the author's faulty discernment and coarse ignorance.

We are torn between the variants(?) and the scribe's ineptitude.

Here again, Crashaw's copyist went badly astray in transcribing, as the sense of the transcription is not consistent.

The text is miserably corrupted here because of the egregious copyist or the ignorant transcriber: If anyone can make sense of these mangled words, well and good. Reader, take note of how much damage authors suffer when foolish copyists who don't know how to read old manuscripts agree to transcribe their works. The sweetest music of the ass upon the lyre!
If you have access to Early English Books Online, a different facsimile in similar quality is available here.

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