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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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The Wirsberger Letters

The Wirsberger Letters

(p.108) Chapter 5 The Wirsberger Letters
The Empire at the End of Time

Frances Courtney Kneupper

Oxford University Press

These predictions, circulated by two laypeople known as the Wirsberger brothers, are virtually unknown to modern scholarship. Most of what is known about the brothers and their letters has been disseminated by their persecutors; namely, the religious authorities who condemned their writings. However, two letters have been recently brought to scholarly attention. This chapter represents the first study of the letters and the apocalyptic narrative of the Wirsberger brothers. The brothers employ a highly unorthodox interpretation of biblical passages to weave an anticlerical, pro-imperial position into the apocalyptic narrative. Thus they insist that the citizens of the Empire will be the last righteous bastions against Antichrist, and that the Empire will become the New Jerusalem at the time of the Last Judgment.

Keywords:   anticlerical, pro-imperial, Wirsberger brothers, laypeople, the Wirsberger Letters

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