Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Extract of Various Prophecies

For the booklet of excerpts from Lichtenberger and Grünpeck and other sources known variously as the Auszug etlicher Prophezeiungen, Extract of Various Prophecies, and (inaccurately) as the "Anonymous Practica"/"Anonyme Praktik," whose most thorough previous description is pp. 145-53 in Heike Talkenberger's Sintflut (1990), I have a recently published article that clears up some of the mysteries:

Jonathan Green. “The Extract of Various Prophecies: Apocalypticism and Mass Media in the Early Reformation.” Renaissance and Reformation 40.4 (2017): 15–42.

  • The previously unknown source of the foreword is Simon Eyssenmann’s annual astrological prognostication for 1514 (VD16 E 4757).
  • The concluding 54 lines of verse are likewise not an original compilation, but appear to be taken from a 108-line poem printed together with an astrological prognostication or calendar for 1508; see Carl Gottfried Scharold, Dr. Martin Luthers Reformation in nächster Beziehung auf das damalige Bisthum Würzburg historisch dargestellt (Würzburg, 1824), 1:64n1, xx–xxiii (appendix item vi). Fragments of both previously unknown sources appear as pastedowns in the same volume (Augsburg, Staats- und Stadtbibliothek 4 Med 1284).
  • The extracts from Lichtenberger are most closely connected to an edition published in 1497 by Bartholomaeus Kistler in Augsburg (ISTC il00209000/GW M18245) and another set of extracts published in 1532 (VD16 ZV 11958).
  • The Dutch edition dated to 1509 (NB 26021) should be dated to around 1523.
  • The decisive actor behind publication of the Extract of Various Prophecies is Hans Stainberger, bookseller of Zwickau, although his personal involvement in composition is unlikely.
  • The 14 known editions of 1516-1525 make the Extract of Various Prophecies the most frequently printed prophetic work during that decade.
  • The circulation of the Extract of Various Prophecies is associated with several interesting Reformation-era controversies, and illustrates the spread of apocalyptic motifs and the formation of audiences for apocalypticism in Reformation-era Germany.
I sketch out the the relationship between texts and editions as follows (this image does not appear in the published article):

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