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Antike Universalgeschichte und Säkularisierung im Melanchthonkreis

Georg Majors Edition des Justinus (1526/37) und die Chronica Carionis (1532)

Carsten Nahrendorf

This article argues that the literary reception of Classical historians through Philipp Melanchthon and his students made a decisive contribution to the pluralization and secularization of early Lutheran scholarly culture. It focuses on Georg Major’s hitherto unexplored edition of Justin’s Epitoma, which was printed in Hagenau in 1526, with a second, extended edition appearing in Magdeburg in 1537. Major’s first edition of 1526 is here scrutinized in the broader context of the emergence of Protestant universal history and the forming of Melanchthon’s understanding of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel, which is traditionally seen by scholars as the starting point of the distinction between secular and sacred history. The second edition (1537) includes a general instruction for the study of histories. Based as it is on Cicero’s historical-methodological principles of consilia, acta, and eventus, laid out in De Oratore, this handbook for Protestant Latin-school pupils is rooted in the historical thought of Italian humanists.

Rainer Hillenbrand

Angelus Silesius describes the mystical deification of the human soul as its inclusion in the Trinity. He uses traditional comparisons and metaphors, as formed on biblical basis by the Fathers to illustrate the inner Trinitarian relations, but also geometric and naturalistic analogies to lead the soul in three ways into God. These are always figurative appellations which, paradoxically, according to negative theology, can also be negated for the very essence of God, which remains unnameable. In this mystical unity, which in the teaching of the church can only happen by grace, but not in a pantheistic fashion by nature, man preserves the creaturely difference to the Creator. Even in the earliest epigrams, Scheffler’s Catholic point of view is that God cannot resist this union of love, and that therefore only man, with his free will, is responsible for its success. The model of the saints and the ethical demand for the keeping of the commandments and the doing of the good works, which confirm the authenticity of this mysticism as well as their conformity with the ecclesiastical tradition, also fit in with this result.

“Einen Newen Reformatorem

Die Reformationsschauspiele von Martin Rinckart und die Reformpoetik von Martin Opitz

Dirk Rose

The essay focuses on the drama-pieces planned by Martin Rinckart to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Reformation in 1617. They are concentrated around Martin Luther as a “hero” for the protestant confession, like in Der Eißlebische Christliche Ritter where Luther figures as a warrior of true belief. Special attention is paid first to the relation between text and music with regard to the performances of the pieces; and second to the question why Rinckart has obviously realized only three of the seven planned pieces about the reformation and Luther. For answering, the essay argues that the reform in poetics and poetry initiated by Martin Opitz has challenged the poetical concept of Rinckart’s pieces in such a way that he was unable to continue them. Ironically, his most famous religious poem Nun danket alle Gott has been rescued out of the wreckage of his ambitious plan of a Luther-Heptalogy.

Der ‘Münchener Psalter’ aus dem 14. Jahrhundert

Mittelhochdeutscher Stabreim in der Tradition Notkers

John M. Jeep


A fourteenth-century version of Notker’s translation of the psalms with commentary yields 58 alliterating Middle High German word-pairs. These are compared with Notker’s original Old High German text, whereby phonological, morphological, semantic and syntactic changes are noted. In studying the transmission of the Biblical text, both continuity and change become evident.

Akira Kusamoto


The purpose of this study was to discover the language preferences of a letter writer for Wilhelm von Berg (1401–1428) in 15th century Westphalia. Various written languages such as Ripuarian, Westphalian and Eastphalian were already established in the region and it is known that writers sometimes mixed one language variation with the other. The study also considers other questions: i) Did writers maintain their prior-developed writing habits? ii) Did they learn the written language practiced at a new location when changing their place of work? The research uses a collection of correspondences between Wilhelm and his siblings, most of which are published here for the first time. They cover his frequent moves from within North-Western Germany when he either wrote letters himself or had them written for him. The study starts with distinguishing the handwritings of his letters, and then moves to an analysis of language variations used through a comparison of specific words. Results show that changing location for one writer (probably Wilhelm himself) did not greatly influence his language use, but that he took on new variants of certain words in his letters.

W. J. J. Pijnenburg


The etymology of the name of the river Dommel in the Netherlands causes some serious difficulties. In fact it has up to now been seen as an unsolved problem. A new close examination of the oldest attestations, like Dudmala (AD 704), has resulted in a new analysis, viz. *dūd-mal-a in which dūd- means ‘folk’, mal- means ‘dingplaats’ and -a is the appellative for ‘water’ < *aχwa-: ‘running water near to a dingplaats’. The two first elements find their parallel in the German place name Detmold, traditionally considered as going back to Germanic *Þeud-maχla – 1263 detmalle, 783 theodmalli.

Formulaic Language in the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle

Set Phrases and Discourse Markers in Middle High German History Writing

Alan V. Murray


This paper investigates formulaic syntax in the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (German: Livländische Reimchronik), a Middle High German (MHG) verse history composed around 1290. A common syntactical formula is a unit formed with the adjective vrô (‘glad’, ‘happy’, ‘joyful’) or its negative variant unvrô, together with the verbs sîn (‘be’) or werden (‘become’), with a genitive object: NP-Nom + SÎN/ WERDEN + NP-Gen + (un)vrô (e.g. der meister was der rede vrô). In almost every case the adjective (un)vrô occurs in end position, so that it can be rhymed with another common word, e.g. (‘then’) or (‘thus’). An important variation is introduced with the demonstrative pronoun des: Pro-Dem-Gen + SÎN/WERDEN + NP-Nom + (un)vrô. This construction has the metrical function of filling a complete line, but it also functions as a discourse marker: it comments positively or negatively on an episode it follows or introduces. The high frequency of this construction in this text compared to its occurrence in other genres written in rhyming couplets suggests that the author was more conservative and less inventive than his contemporaries. In addition he also drew more frequently on the vocabulary and conventions of heroic poetry in which formulaic language was very common. It is argued that the employment of formulaic phrasing and syntax are connected with the sociolinguistic circumstances of the recitation of the chronicle.