The Industry of Evangelism

Printing for the Reformation in Martin Luther’s Wittenberg


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 monograph examines the rise of the Wittenberg printing industry and analyses how it overtook the Empire’s leading print centres. It 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.

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Drew B. Thomas, Ph.D. (2018, University of St. Andrews) is a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College Dublin.
List of Figures and Tables

 1 Print and the Reformation
 2 Wittenberg
 3 Project Parameters
 4 Sources & Methodology

1 The Beginnings of the Reformation Print Industry
 1 Rhau-Grunenberg’s Monopoly
 2 Major Players Emerge
 3 Improving the Quality of Wittenberg Print
 4 Printing the September Testament

2 The Title Page Borders of Lucas Cranach
 1 The First Reformation Title Page Borders
 2 Decorating Luther’s Message
 3 Border Usage among Wittenberg’s Printers
 4 Copying Cranach’s Borders
 5 Developing a Brand

3 Fraud in the Reformation Book Trade
 1 A History of False Publication Information
 2 Identifying Counterfeits
 3 Types of Counterfeits
 4 Imitating Typefaces
 5 The Prevalence of Counterfeits and Wittenberg’s Response
 6 Wittenberg’s Response
 7 Conclusion

4 The Second Generation of Reformation Printers
 1 Wittenberg’s Leading Printers
 2 Local Competition among Wittenberg’s Printers
 3 Analysing Volumes of Production Based on Sheets
 4 Conclusion

6 Bibles and Broadsheets
 1 Hans Lufft, der Bibeldrucker
 2 Publishers and Privileges
 3 Official Print: Reconstructing Wittenberg’s Lost History


Appendix 1: A Catalogue of Wittenberg Counterfeits

Appendix 2: USTC – VD16 Concordance
All interested in early-modern European history, the history of the book, and the role of the Reformation in the development of the printing industry.
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