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The Empire at the End of TimeIdentity and Reform in Late Medieval German Prophecy$
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Frances Courtney Kneupper

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190279363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190279363.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Empire at the End of Time
Author(s):

Frances Courtney Kneupper

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190279363.003.0001

This chapter introduces the topic of German eschatological prophecies and the period under consideration, ca. 1380–1480. It describes German vernacular prophecies as texts which are short, popular, and ephemeral. It further asserts that these prophecies were extremely popular, especially in the Upper-German-speaking regions of the Empire, and explains why this was so. It discusses eschatological prophecies as bringing together concerns about Church reform, German identity, and apocalyptic events. The introduction also situates the book within its historiographical context. It notes that scholars have long had a sense that German prophecies drew on both spiritual and political concerns. However, until now no thorough study of German prophecies has existed, and therefore this sense has remained general. This chapter explains that this book will give a thorough examination of the eschatological prophecies circulating in the Empire, offering detailed evidence that prophecies contributed to the late medieval discourse on the reform of the Church and clergy and the role of Germans in this reform.

Keywords:   prophecy, late medieval Empire, German prophecies, apocalyptic, German vernacular, reform, German identity

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