The industry of evangelism : printing for the Reformation in Martin Luther's Wittenberg
MetadataShow full item record
When Martin Luther supposedly nailed his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, the small town had only a single printing press. By the end of the century, Wittenberg had published more books than any other city in the Holy Roman Empire. Of the leading print centres in early modern Europe, Wittenberg was the only one that was not a major centre of trade, politics, or culture. This thesis examines the rise of the Wittenberg printing industry and analyses how it overtook the Empire’s leading print centres. Luther’s controversy—and the publications it produced—attracted printers to Wittenberg who would publish tract after tract. In only a few years, Luther became the most published author since the invention of the printing press. This thesis investigates the workshops of the four leading printers in Wittenberg during Luther’s lifetime: Nickel Schirlentz, Josef Klug, Hans Lufft, and Georg Rhau. Together, these printers conquered the German print world. They were helped with the assistance of the famous Renaissance artist, Lucas Cranach the Elder, who lived in Wittenberg as court painter to the Elector of Saxony. His woodcut title page borders decorated the covers of Luther’s books and were copied throughout the Empire. Capitalising off the demand for Wittenberg books, many printers falsely printed that their books were from Wittenberg. Such fraud played a major role in the Reformation book trade, as printers in every major print centre made counterfeits of Wittenberg books. However, Reformation pamphlets were not the sole reason for Wittenberg’s success. Such items played only a marginal role in the local industry. It was the great Luther Bibles, spurred by Luther’s emphasis on Bible reading, that allowed Wittenberg’s printers to overcome the odds and become the largest print centre in early modern Germany.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2023-05-22
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 22nd May 2023
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Religious directives of health, sickness and death : Church teachings on how to be well, how to be ill, and how to die in early modern England Elkins, Mark (University of St Andrews, 2018-12-07) - ThesisIn broad terms, this thesis is a study of what Protestant theologians in early modern England taught regarding the interdependence between physical health and spirituality. More precisely, it examines the specific and ...
Foley-Fisher, Nathan; McLaughlin, Eoin (2016-04) - Journal articleLand reform and its financial arrangements are central elements of modern Irish history. Yet to date, the financial mechanisms underpinning Irish land reform have been overlooked. The article outlines the mechanisms of ...
Rowe, Peter Anthony (University of St Andrews, 2011-06) - ThesisA cathedral of the Church of England is the seat of the bishop and a centre of worship and mission. The history of this institution is followed from the English Reformation, which it survived, through to the Commonwealth, ...