The Messianic Kingship of Augustin Bader as Anti-Habsburg Polemic: Prophecy and Politics in Reformation Germany

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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Abstract

This paper explores the genesis, self-understanding and significance of a small messianic commune operating in the late 1520s in southern Germany under the headship of Augustin Bader, an Augsburg weaver and erstwhile Anabaptist. It traces the unique convergence of Christian and Jewish messianic expectation in the 1520s that unexpectedly linked Bader to the kabbalistic prognostications of Abraham Halevi and the pseudo-military campaign of David Reuveni. Finally, it argues that Bader’s messianism was specifically crafted as a counter-hegemonic measure against the Habsburgs, whose persecution of Anabaptists such as Bader and his associates made a mockery of that dynasty’s heavy reliance on the imperial messianic ideology of the Last World Emperor.

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