Friday, February 28, 2014

Abstract: "Dietrich von Zengg in Print"

For the upcoming Revisiting Early Modern Prophecies conference in London in June, this is the abstract I submitted. In the same session, Courtney Kneupper will present a paper on the fifteenth-century context of "Dietrich von Zengg," while I'll cover the print transmission.
Abstract: “Dietrich von Zengg in Print”
The print transmission of the German prophecy known as “Dietrich von Zengg” in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries is characteristic for the genre of prophecy, including in ways that call into question the boundaries usually assumed to exist between periods, authorial identities, texts, genres, and media. While most editions were published in the first three decades of the Reformation, others precede the Reformation, and the prophecy enjoyed an active reception as late as the 1620s, another period of crisis in Germany. The prophecy made the leap from manuscript to print at least twice, while some later manuscripts are derived from print sources. The medium of print gave the prophecy its lasting identity as the work of one “Dietrich von Zengg,” supposedly a Franciscan monk from Senj in present-day Croatia, a shared authorial attribution that is not found in the fifteenth-century manuscripts. But the medium of print did not stabilize the text or its alleged author. The prophecy was attributed in some editions to an anonymous Carmelite monk of Prague, and “Dietrich von Zengg” evolved from a monk into a bishop in several editions, and was replaced altogether by “Jeremias von Paris” in another. The transmission of “Zengg” includes both compilation of the prophecy together with other prophetic works; extracting of passages from “Zengg” into other prophecies; extension of “Zengg” with material borrowed from other prophecies; translation of “Zengg” into Latin for use in Lutheran polemic; discussion of “Zengg” in learned debates about prophecy and political fortunes; and use of “Zengg” for oral preaching by a popular prophetic figure of southwest Germany.

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