Lay Prophets in Lutheran Europe (c. 1550–1700)


Lay prophets in Lutheran Europe (c. 1550–1700) is the first transnational study of the phenomenon of angelic apparitions in all Lutheran cultures of early modern Europe. Jürgen Beyer provides evidence for more than 350 cases and analyses the material in various ways: tracing the medieval origins, studying the spread of news about prophets, looking at the performances legitimising their calling, noting their comments on local politics, following the theological debates about prophets, and interpreting the early modern notions of holiness within which prophets operated. A full chronology and bibliography of all cases concludes the volume. Beyer demonstrates that lay prophets were an accepted part of Lutheran culture and places them in their social, political and confessional contexts.
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Biographical Note

Jürgen Beyer, Ph.D. (2001, Cambridge University), is senior research fellow at Tartu University Library, Estonia. He has published widely on the cultural history of early modern Lutheranism.

Review Quotes

"(...) Lay Prophets in Lutheran Europe is a most useful book. The bibliographical research is thorough—the footnotes tend to dwarf the text—and Beyer’s account is followed by a detailed list, attended by exhaustive bibliographies, of the various prophets. This is a valuable contribution to the subject."

- Alastair Hamilton, The Warburg Institute, in: Church History, Volume 92, Issue 2 (2017).


All interested in the cultural history of early modern Lutheranism and anyone concerned with prophecy and apparitions.