Bible reading, “Bibles” and the Bible for children in early modern Germany

Bible reading, “Bibles” and the Bible for children in early modern Germany

Ruth B. Bottigheimer


For well over one hundred and fifty years German Protestant historians defined early modern Protestants as people of the Word. By this they meant that their forebears — unlike Catholics — had read Luther’s translation of the Bible. In 1984 Richard Gawthrop and Gerald Strauss challenged that orthodoxy, using school ordinances to support their claim that Bible reading was absent from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Protestant curricula.(1)

This article uses children’s Bibles and their publishing history to probe confessional aspects of children’s Bible reading in early modern Europe. In showing that Reformed Protestant children were supplied with canonical Bible text, while Lutheran children were provided with Bible extracts and edited Bible stories, this study both confirms and refines Gawthrop and Strauss’s revisionist position.

It has long been assumed that reading “the World” in Reformation Germany meant reading Holy Writ as Luther translated it and as his publisher, Hans Lufft, printed it in Wittenberg — and as it was borrowed or pirated and published all over German-speaking central Europe. The publishing history of devotional literature, however, suggests a much more complex picture of “the Word” and a far more extensive set of genres and titles. More often than not, the common man, woman and child read their Word not in the canonical biblical text, but on the pages of any of a variety of collected excerpts from it.(2) Such a volume might be a simple verse-a-day collection for the calendar year. Or it might eschew biblical text altogether and include only explanatory chapter headings taken from the Luther translation, as did Veit Dietrich’s summaries of the entire Bible for children.3

Special-purpose collections of biblical texts also existed for numerous occupations and interests. The Psalter, or Book of Psalms, was a form in which the canonical text was frequently displayed, as was Jesus Syrach (known in English as the Book of Ecclesiasticus), a broadly popular apocryphal book of wisdom writings included in sixteenth-century German Catholic and Protestant Bibles. For children there were also Bible riddle books and abbreviated passages with hieroglyphic symbols worked into the text but, above all, there were Bible story collections that came to be called children’s Bibles.(4) The study of any one of these subgenres within the larger subject of Bible reading materially extends and more closely defines the concept of “Bible reading” in early modern Germany. That books other than the canonical Bible provided texts for “Bible reading” is well attested by the forewords to collections of Bible stories for adults and children, both Catholic and Protestant,(5) that refer to the absence of the Bible from the modest households in which the majority of the early modern German population lived.



In appearance, a typical children’s Bible was small, octavo or duodecimo and, in surviving copies, usually illustrated with woodcuts or copperplates. It generally contained stories from Old Testament histories, the Apocrypha, New Testament Gospels and Acts. As a group these books included paradigmatic tales of the Creation, Fall and Deliverance, stories of patriarchal heroes, and New Testament fulfilments of Old Testament prefigurations (also called “types” or “figures”) and prophecies. The profile of stories offered to the reader and the proportion of space allotted to the Old and New Testaments changed dramatically from the late sixteenth to the twentieth century: initially the Old Testament outweighed the New, reflecting the composition of the canonical Bible. But these proportions slowly changed until the New Testament overtook and began to displace the Old Testament in nineteenth-century compilations.

The first post-Reformation German children’s Bible was Martin Luther’s Passional.(6) Its brief publishing history sheds some light on Lutheran attitudes towards Bible reading among the laity in the early days of the Protestant Reformation. As a book intended for the use of children and simple folk,(7) it belongs to the literary genre of children’s literature.(8) First published in 1529, the Passional was the final section in Luther’s tripartite Betbuchlin (prayer-book) with its format of almanac, prayers and Bible selections,(9) and it continued as an integral part of it for about forty years.(10)

Although one of the least known, the Passional is one of the most important of early children’s Bibles for three reasons: first, because it was the first Protestant collection of Bible story excerpts for children;(11) secondly, because it was published both in the vernacular and in Latin; and finally, because it provided a new model for the genre, using recognizably scriptural language.

Luther’s 1529 Passional text consisted of fifty small leaves with each page of text faced by a woodcut illustration, the whole preceded by an introduction.(12) (See Plate 1.) Here Luther explained that he “thought it would be good to include the traditional Passion story along with the prayer-book” and continued that he “had added a few more stories and quotations from the Bible”. On the subject of pictures he outlined the advantages of “painting Bible illustrations and quotations at home on the walls so that God’s works and words might always be before one’s eyes”.

Several unexpected features of Luther’s Passional signal its potential importance for the study of sixteenth-century Bible reading. The first is the extent to which and the direction in which the text was edited. Some of the changes made between the 1529 German edition and the second one in 1531 are simple publishing and printing alterations like the addition of the names of biblical books, numbers of chapters and folios, and spelling shifts. But more important is the fact that Luther added a considerable amount of text to the Latin edition of 1529 which remained absent from early German editions. By so doing, Luther exposed the broad German-language Bible-reading public to the briefer of the two available textual versions, and thereby implied that the common man, woman and child would — and perhaps should — read less Scripture than their well-schooled fellow citizens.

In the latter years of its publication history the text of the German version of the Passional underwent textual changes.(13) Some elaborations to the text appear to have been essentially political, like the exoneration of the governor, Herod, from guilt over John the Baptist’s beheading and the similar exculpation of the procurator, Pontius Pilate, in Jesus’ crucifixion. The Passional’s textual softening towards these two rulers accorded well with Luther’s pragmatic recognition that people needed to “know what counts as right and what counts as wrong in the land where they live and earn their bread”‘(14) a statement linking moral and political ends. Yet other changes altered the focus of some passages, for example, an increasing emphasis on the Jews’ perfidy, Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s loyalty.

Most surprising, however, is the brevity of the publishing history of Luther’s little “Bible”, particularly so because sixteenth-century Protestant Germany hallowed nearly everything associated with its pre-eminent hero. Two decades after Luther’s death, competing editions of the Betbuchlin came on to the market which differed radically from the one that Hans Lufft continued to publish.(15) In 1566 Jacobus Berwald of Leipzig (also Barwald or Berwaldt), who had previously published the Betbuchlin with the Passional included, began publishing “A New Prayer-Book of the Late and Precious Man of God, Doctor Luther, Drawn from his Own Spiritual Consolation and Living Words and Books”.(16) In his revised version, Berwald removed the Passional and replaced it with contributions by Anton Otto, Veit Dietrich, Johannes Goldschmid, Johannes Stoltz, Nikolaus von Amsdorff and Johannes Grosch, all of whom were associated with books for paternal guidance in the home (Hausvaterliteratur). All except Amsdorff had studied with or under Luther and were second-generation Lutheran Reformation writers, and all except Johann Stoltz were Orthodox Lutherans.(17) Like Berwald’s 1566 version, which was followed by publishers in Eisleben and Magdeburg, a 1579 Strasburg Betbuchlin also replaced the Passional with excerpts from Luther’s own writings, thus shifting authority from Holy Writ to Luther’s writing.(18)

The sixteenth-century substitution of Luther’s writings or those of his Orthodox followers for the biblical text of the Passional raises provocative questions. Did sixteenth-century Lutheran theologians (or their publishers) equate their own writings with Luther’s translation of the biblical text as it appears in the truncated form of the Passional? What were their reasons for substituting Luther’s — or their own — devotional writings for the text of the Passional? What does their substitution reveal about the theologians’ views of the importance of children’s and of simple folks’ reading of Bible stories? Might it indicate a negative judgement about Luther’s children’s Bible in contrast to other Latin and German children’s Bibles available at the sixteenth-century booksellers? Or might it form part of a larger phenomenon of the early Counter-Reformation era, the quasicanonization of Luther himself,(19) which here took the form of substituting Luther and his writings for Holy Writ?(20) The evidence makes it abundantly clear that among Lutheran theologians there was limited interest in providing children and simple folk with biblical text, even in so minimal a form as that in Martin Luther’s Passional. It would seem that Luther and many of his contemporaries believed that the text of the canonical Bible presented material perplexing to the simple reader,(21) and that his followers took steps to limit even attenuated Bible reading for the broad population in sixteenth-century Lutheran Germany, by withdrawing the Passional from the hands of the uninitiated, and replacing Luther’s hundred pages of biblical text and illustration with less problematic theological writings. Alternatively, the brevity of the Passional’s published life may represent the sixteenth-century buying public’s rejection of scriptural text in favour of more fictionalized versions of Bible stories, a trend which characterized popular Bible consumption well into the eighteenth century.

The Passional’s authorship and timing situate it at the heart of the Reformation and thus make it a useful instrument for broadening scholarly discussion about the relationship between Lutheranism, literacy and Bible reading. For example, the absence of Luther’s Passional from the school ordinances of Wittenberg of 1553,(22) that is, at a time and in a place where it had already been published in three different editions, supports Gawthrop and Strauss’s revisionist position on school Bible reading,(23) namely, that Bible reading was absent both from curricular models and classroom practice.

As Luther’s Passional faded from memory,(24) many seventeenth-century authors named as the antecedent to their own Bible story collections for children a sixteenth-century compilation actually composed for adults. It was Hartman Beyer’s collection of Bible stories,(25) which he offered as an alternative to unacceptably ribald collections of tales and secular chap-books. Beyer’s collection, with its scripturally based language, soon came to be read by children; its appearance heralded the formation of Bible narratives directed specifically at children and set the table of contents for subsequent productions. First published in 1555, it went through three editions and, like Luther’s Passional, yielded to Bible story collections in non-scriptural language (though their title-pages often claimed the opposite) before the end of the sixteenth century.

The Bible for children as it existed in Germany from the sixteenth century onwards included stories from the Old and the New Testaments. The Old Testament itself was understood to consist of three kinds of literature: historical, wisdom and prophetical. Children’s evident delight in stories provided authors with a rationale for excerpting narratives from Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges and Ruth, as well as the Books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and the Apocrypha. As time wore on, changing conceptions of God — angry or loving — dictated story choice, and changing views of the nature of the child — born sinful or as a blank slate — determined the manner of telling tales. Concomitant alterations in pedagogical theory further conditioned story choice and content, with the result that Noah’s demeaning nakedness disappeared at the end of the seventeenth century, but Joseph’s seductive mistress remained and her wickedness even increased; Jael’s heroic murder of Sisera faded out, but Absalom’s rebellion ended in his relentless murder by Joab, recounted generation after generation.

The notion of the Bible as a series of cautionary tales depicting the punishment of vice dominated the production of the Bible for children during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This view slowly gave way to an eighteenth-century conviction that the Bible should provide models of virtuous behaviour. The history of the tellings of the well-known tale of David and Bathsheba exhibits this shift, for from its beginning it clearly demonstrated the consequences of godless conduct. Its colourful cast of characters included David and Bathsheba, the astute adjutant Joab, the simple hero Uriah, the thundering prophet Nathan, and David’s handsome son Absalom. Absalom’s siblings were there (his dissipated half-brother Amnon and his beautiful sister Tamar), as were spies and a double agent. The story’s events were equally varied: adultery, betrayal, incest, fratricide, espionage, revolt, suicide and defiling a father’s concubines. A gripping story, it recounted how David saw Bathsheba bathing (Plates 2 and 3), enquired about her, sent for her, and slept with her. Later, learning that she was pregnant, David summoned her husband Uriah home from battle hoping to establish a plausible paternity. But Uriah heroically refused to sleep with his wife while his men suffered in the field, and was returned to battle with a sealed letter from David instructing Joab to place Uriah in the thick of battle where death would surely find him. Bathsheba mourned, David married her, and by these hasty exertions their child was born within a legal union. But the prophet Nathan appeared with a parable of a rich man stealing a poor man’s lamb and decreed that the sinfully legitimated infant must die. Epic in its cast of characters and range of events, the tale continued with Amnon’s rape of his half-sister Tamar, a deed Absalom avenged by stabbing him to death. Nearly destroying David’s kingship, Absalom incited a series of rebellions but was killed by Joab and his men as he hung helpless, suspended from an oak limb by his beautiful hair. The whole account is to be found in 2 Samuel 9-18 and ends with David’s heart-rending lament, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom. Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” This is a brutal tale, but for teachers and preachers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries its exemplary value predominated, for God punished the wicked: the adulterous David had to witness the death of the infant son Bathsheba had borne him; the rapist Amnon was stabbed to death; the rebellious Absalom was murdered.

Reflecting Enlightenment pedagogical imperatives, the author of the most widely published children’s Bible of the eighteenth century,(26) Johann Hubner, cleaned the tale up. He omitted Amnon’s incest with Tamar and Absalom’s fratricide, and from the scriptural original retained only the adultery, betrayal murder. We must understand Hubner’s editing not in a theological context, but in social and pedagogical terms that reflected secular values but conflicted with scriptural sources. For example, 2 Samuel 11: 2-4 indicates clearly that David initiated the adultery which precipitated fatal consequences and that Bathsheba had little opportunity for resistance. But in the “Useful Teachings” with which Hubner glossed each story in his collection he pointed an accusing finger directly at the victim: “Women should be careful to give no one cause for annoyance./ If Bathsheba had not undressed in her garden, then David would not have committed adultery and would not have committed murder either”.(27)

In Hubner’s retelling, incest disappeared, and David’s adultery soon followed when subsequent editors reordered the story chronologically. By placing David’s union with Bathsheba after Uriah’s death, it could be (falsely) inferred that David first murdered Uriah and then married his widow, leaving David a murderer but not an adulterer. With a sexual sin no longer darkening their infant son’s birth, a palpable reason for the child’s having to die disappeared and his “doom as punishment for David’s sin” passed to Absalom, whose rebellion and death were identified as punishments for David’s sinning. Further into the eighteenth century euphemistic phrases replaced and obscured the facts of scriptural narrative: David’s “careless child-rearing”,(28) his “great mistakes”,(29) the fact that he “was not sufficiently on guard against his inclinations”,(30) or (in a discursive set of retellings for an adult readership) the fact that a “fattened body … easily falls prey to unchaste sensations”, along with a reminder that if David had occupied himself with work instead of strolling on his roof, none of this tragedy need have happened.(31) In yet other versions, Bathsheba disappeared entirely from the narrative.(32) For many nineteenth-century Bible redactors, the pedagogically problematic Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings were simply too hot to handle and were omitted altogether.(33)

How did child-readers regard such Bible stories? Did they actually believe they were reading a holy book? Would they have equated their children’s Bible with the canonical Bible? Patterns of defacement on the pages of surviving children’s Bibles provide some clues. Children practised their letters on flyleaves and sometimes on title-pages, but usually left the body of the text untouched. This pattern is so regular that one senses a childish belief in the sacral or sacralized nature of books of Bible stories. If they treated their children’s Bibles reverentially, they were simply concurring with titles and forewords that frequently asserted that the book in question was the Bible itself, simplified slightly for young minds.



Beyond the changing content of their stories, German vernacular children’s Bibles were charged with other kinds of information. Their authors were identifiably Protestant (Lutheran or Reformed), Catholic (Jansenist or Orthodox) and — beginning with Moses Budinger in the nineteenth century — Jewish. Titles frequently defined in the clear terms the intended readership: “for carefully reared youth”;(34) “for country schools”;(35) or “for older children”.(36) Instructions for their use suggest an idealized eighteenth-century urban Swiss nursery or drawing room where a tutor, governess or mother was expected to read Bible stories aloud, to hear them repeated orally, to listen to them read aloud, and occasionally to oversee their translation into Latin; or they suggest an equally idealized nineteenth-century German parlour, where catechizing sessions based on the content of a Bible story collection took place.

The peculiar confluence of different kinds of information in children’s Bibles makes them a potentially rich source for social historians. Preoccupied with passing on the information essential for their children’s eternal salvation, parents, teachers and preachers overlooked logic, causality and aesthetics, and consequently the changes that crept in from one telling to another articulated the authors’ unspoken intentions. The facts that their authors can be categorized in religious terms, their intended audiences characterized socio-economically and their commercial success often measured by the numbers of imprints, make children’s Bibles a potential source for analysis within a far more clearly definable set of categories than is the case with other forms of children’s literature.



Because religious and social variables associated with children’s Bibles are generally identifiable, it is possible to use them to refine and extend the approach to larger historical issues. For instance, Gawthrop and Strauss’s analysis of the relationship between Protestantism and Bible reading can be fine-tuned with reference to varieties of Protestantism in early modern Germany, in the way Germans of that day did automatically. The authorities in Nuremberg wrote in 1698-9 that “where children of other religions, such as Papists or Reformed, are found in schools in this area, it shall be neither countenanced nor accepted that they recite any translation of the Holy Writ other than Luther’s translation nor any other catechism except Luther’s, or bring it into the school”.(37) A few years later the Royal Prussian Reformed (Evangelisch-Reformirte) ordinance of 1713 that dealt with gymnasia and schools expressed itself in more conciliatory language but carefully maintained the same set of distinctions when it specified that children of other confessions who wished to attend Reformed gymnasia and schools should not be forced to learn the Reformed catechism, but should be allowed to withdraw during religious instruction to another room, where they might read Psalms or sing their own religious songs.(38)

The distinctions between Lutheran and Reformed pupils written into school ordinances were real ones.(39) Confessional distinctions between Lutheran and Reformed Germans were paralleled by clear differences in the curricular requirements set down in the school regulations of governments known to be Reformed: school regulations in Lutheran Nuremberg did not specify Bible reading in the classroom, but the curricular descriptions for Reformed Hesse in 1618 and for Reformed Berlin nearly a century later (1713) both contained requirements for schoolchildren to read the Bible in school at the rate of one chapter per day. Reformed Hanau suggested reading the Old and the New Testament (“Lutheri’version”) along with “the Gospels, Jesus Syrach, the Psalms of David, and German Psalms”.(40)

School ordinances plainly evinced a distinction between Reformed and Lutheran practice with reference to children’s Bible reading in school. At the same time the publishing history of children’s Bibles offers complementary evidence about Lutheran and Reformed Bible story and Bible reading for children at home. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, all German children’s Bibles which reproduced Bible stories in reworked narrative form were Lutheran. After Hartman Beyer’s 1555 excerpts from Luther’s translation, one looks in vain for unedited canonical biblical text among seventeenth-century Lutheran Bibles for children. Their books of the Bible appeared in every other format: catechized, versified, hymnified and epitomized. Such books were also published for a Reformed child-readership but, unlike the Lutheran publications, they were joined by canonical text. A representative Reformed example was a 1612 bilingual New Testament “for the benefit of the young” with Theodore Beza’s French and Luther’s German versions.(41)

Publishing records reinforce the conclusion that the “Bible” for Reformed and for Lutheran children designated different text types. Seventeenth-century Reformed children were presented with children’s editions of all or part of the canonical Bible, as bibliographical listings in the 1570-1750 volume of the Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur reveal;(42) their Lutheran contemporaries read about the Bible and had epitomes (prose or verse), quotations, Bible catechisms or Bible stories. This evidence about who read the Bible in canonical scriptural form in the early modern period is supported by the Leipzig voice of the almost certainly Lutheran Matthaeus Lunguvitius (Lungwitz) in 1615. In his discussion of Christian domestic regulation he names nine official duties parents owe their children: prayer, catechism, church attendance and communion are included, along with cherishing them and providing them with food, a proper upbringing, good examples and a trade. Reading the Bible is not included.(43) Consistent with Lunguvitius’ precepts is the total absence of Bible narrative in canonical biblical text in books for Lutheran children on the one hand, and a plethora of biblical material in highly reworked form on the other. Taken together these two facts attest to no expectation among sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Lutheran parents that their children should or would have unimpeded access to the full canonical Bible. Quite different, however, were Reformed assumptions. Like contemporary English Puritans, seventeenth-century German Reformed parents expected their children to read the canonical Bible. This fact accounts for the availability of the canonical Bible published for children’s use, as well as the absence of edited Bible story collections for children among the Reformed population of the Germanies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Who, then, read Luther’s translation of the Bible? Surprisingly, a great many German Reformed Protestant children and adults did so. There is much evidence to support the conclusion that the Bible that Reformed children read was more frequently in Luther’s translation than in Zwingli’s or Piscator’s. The Hanau insistence on Luther’s translation of the Bible cited above reflected a preference among the laity and even among some clergy of the Reformed church for Luther’s translation over any of the Reformed versions(44) in the early years of the seventeenth century. Lutheran words with Reformed commentary and introduction provided the basic biblical text commonly used in Reformed congregations and households in the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For example, the Reformed Herborn Bible, which was only one of many similar Reformed Bibles published in the Germanies, reproduced the 1560 Frankfurt Luther Bible to which had been added a Reformed hymnal and catechism. Handy octavo editions were sold with this text from 1598 to 1635 and slightly larger quartos from 1609 to 1666.(45) The publishing history of German Reformed Bibles leads to the second and unexpected conclusion that the Bible in Luther’s translation was read by a greater proportion of Reformed than of Lutheran Protestants.

Beyond the simple Lutheran/Reformed dichotomy lie other, internal, distinctions which may have coloured local pedagogical practices in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Germany. The Consensus Tigurinus had merged Genevan and Zurich Reformed theology and liturgical practice, but language-based distinctions continued to divide one Reformed congregation from another. For example, a Reformed community in central Germany might consist of Swiss immigrants, or of either Dutch, Flemish or French refugees who had entered the Germanies directly at some point between the mid-sixteenth century and the early years of the seventeenth century, or of Dutch, Flemish or French refugees who had previously sojourned in England in the same period.(46) The simple designation “Calvinist” inadequately expresses the diversity of Second Reformation population groupings, as Patrick Collinson notes.(47) Each fugitive congregation must have brought along indigenous traditions and expectations with respect to Bible reading. One ponders, parenthetically, the source of the “separatism” that in eighteenth-century Altona identified members of the French Reformed church as “refined” and those of the German Reformed congregation as socially inferior, and that tended to restrict adherents of the respective congregations to their separate social spheres.(48) Did the awareness of social and educational superiority, especially highly developed among the French Reformed Protestants, derive from the greater cachet of French-language use in eighteenth-century Germany? From an actual and measurable (as opposed to supposed) commercial superiority? One would like to know to what extent these divisions were solely an eighteenth-century phenomenon and to what extent they continued sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ones. By the eighteenth century French and German Reformed Protestants in Altona no longer knew what religious differences might separate them from one another,(49) but they maintained none the less a conscious awareness of French- versus German-language religious origins with attendant cultural associations, that is, Genevan Calvinist versus Zurich Zwinglian origins.(50) It Would be interesting to know to what extent lengthy sojourns in England or the Netherlands imparted a distinct sense of identity or coloration to individual members of Reformed congregations in Germany and to the schools associated with them (for pastors and schoolmasters were often one and the same). A partial answer can be found on the title-page of the Catechisme, ou instruction sur les principales matieres de la religion chretienne: the author, Jean La Fite, was identified as pastor of the Walloon, rather than of the Reformed Church, a designation that emphasized linguistic over religious identity.(51)

Further differences in Bible-reading expectations may have accompanied shifts in religious allegiance within individual principalities. When, for example, the Lutheran Reformation in Hesse was followed by the Second (Reformed) Reformation in the 1580s, and when Hanau-Munzenberg adopted the Reformed confession in the 1590s, Lutheran pastors in both principalities were replaced wholesale by Reformed teachers as schoolmasters.(52) This event must also have had repercussions on subsequent formulations of school regulations and attendant Bible-reading requirements.

School ordinances provide some information about the beginnings of school Bible reading and Bible story study, and the history of religious education adds more. In their study Gawthrop and Strauss saw the real beginnings of school Bible reading and study in the eighteenth century, taking their evidence from school ordinances. The early twentieth-century historian of the German Bible, Hans Vollmer, documented school Bible instruction at an earlier point;(53) Christoph Kolb, writing at about the same times, argued the opposite position, that expense alone long kept the Bible from winning a place in the German Volksschule.(54) Each of these statements, though apparently contradictory, is true. Gawthrop and Strauss’s “real beginnings” refer principally to the expansion in schooling that affected affluent urban schoolboys; Vollmer’s “earlier school instruction” details absolute temporal beginnings without specifying extent; and Kolb’s Volksschule involves modern mass education. Central to any conclusions about the existence and degree of Bible reading in early modern Germany is the significance attached to available data. For instance, the Canstein Bible Institute’s enormous production of Bibles from 1711 onwards would appear to imply an equally enormous Bible readership.(55) The Canstein Institute’s Bible production, however, was not market-driven: its production did not result from consumer demand; capital was supplied by gifts; and the labour component, provided by Halle orphans, was essentially free.(56)

The school Bible of choice for growing numbers of teachers in the eighteenth century was not the Bible in its canonical form such as those produced by the Canstein Institute, but Johann Hubner’s Twice Fifty-Two Selected Bible Histories.(57) Edited specifically for young and impressionable eyes and with a teacher-friendly format, it was integrated into school curricula throughout Protestant Germany from the early eighteenth century (in its original form) until well into the nineteenth century (in substantially reworked form). As a means of imparting biblical narrative content to children in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Protestant Germanies,(58)

Hubner’s stories provided both a precursor and a model for similar texts in neighbouring countries, for example, Johann Caspar Lavater’s in German-speaking Protestant Switzerland, Ludwig Christian Muller’s school Bible, Den bibelske Historie (translated from German) in nineteenth-century Denmark, and Christoph von Schmid’s in nineteenth-century Catholic Bavaria.(59)

Hubner’s Bible stories were but one among many such productions. A long line of Bible story collections specifically for children — some for home and some for school use – had preceded it in the late seventeenth century, for example, Johann Christfried Sagittarius’ Biblische Historien Altes und Neuen Testaments (Altenburg: Gottfried Richter, 1670), Bartholomaeus Lenderich’s Kleine Historische Biblia (Nuremberg: Johann Hoffmann, 1677), Ehrnreich Weissmann’s Kinder-Bibel (Stuttgart: Johann Gottfried Zubrodt, 1684), and Johann Gottfried Zeidler’s Bilder-Buchlin (Magdeburg: Johann Daniel Muller, 1691). The extent to which edited Bible stories – rather than canonical Bibles – were available for the Lutheran child reader can be inferred from the large number of publishing houses which produced them and from the fact that many Bible story collections went through successive printings.(60) That certain of the Bible story collections were principally intended for children’s use, unlike Luther’s Passional which served a double public, is made clear in their forewords and by the wording of their catechetical formats. Other collections served a prosperous adult audience, frequently in quarto format or larger, although book size by no means invariably correlated with reader age.

School Bibles began to appear in large numbers for both Catholic and Protestant children in the nineteenth century, and there is for this subject a voluminous bibliography. Patterns of editing — omission, addition, reformulation and transposition – similar to those in earlier children’s Bibles characterized nineteenth – and twentieth-century school Bibles, but their utter plainness differentiated them from children’s Bibles to be bought by parents and to be read at home.



The historian of Lutheran Bible reading may be surprised by the extent to which Catholic and Lutheran children may have been reading the same sorts of biblical material before, during and after the Reformation. In the late fourteenth century Geoffroy, Knight of La Tour Landry composed for the edification of his young daughters a collection of exemplary tales, some of which treated biblical women who exemplified both virtue and vice. Translated into German by Marquart vom Stein, it was published in Basel, Augsburg, Strasburg and Frankfurt between 1493 and 1572.(61) Ludwig Bechstein, a nineteenth-century German Protestant man of letters, was shocked at its contents: Eve’s biting the apple, Lot’s daughter’s incest, the rape of Dinah, and the adulterous advances of Potiphar’s wife to chaste Joseph,(62) yet in terms of content the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Catholic original was much the same as that in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Bible story collections for Lutheran children. Just as these stories were shared by generations of Catholic and Lutheran children, so were the Books of Proverbs and copies of Jesus Syrach with which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century German Catholic as well as Lutheran children sat down.(63)

Bible story collections began to appear in Catholic France towards the end of the seventeenth century contemporaneously with the explosion of Bible story collections in Protestant Germany. The one which became a Catholic best seller antedated Hubner’s Bible stories by more than forty-five years. It was Nicolas Fontaine’s L’histoire du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament.(64) With catechesis taken in hand by others, Fontaine had been free to concentrate on Bible stories, and his “Bible” was printed substantially unchanged for approximately the next one hundred and fifty years for children and for adults as a Bible abridgement, reformulation and commentary.(65) Richly illustrated, often with reproductions from later editions of the 1625 Strasburg Icones Biblicae by the Basel-born illustrator Matthaus Merian (Plate 4),(66) it was published in both cheap, small editions and expensive, large ones. At about the same time, a second collection of Bible stories appeared in Paris, compiled by Claude Oronce Fine de Brianville, bearing the formal imprimatur of no less a figure than Bossuet, in his capacity as bishop of Condom. Probably because its three-volume duodecimo format was less convenient than Fontaine’s handy single volume, it was ultimately less of a publishing success.(67)

For several generations an unshakeable belief in two facts has determined the course of investigations of lay Bible reading. The first was that Protestants as a whole were, and always had been, people of the Word; the second that their Catholic counterparts were, and always had been, denied access to the Bible. At first glance there is much to support these positions, but in practice ecclesiastical prohibitions and processes produced surprising local variability, with the result that there were remarkable similarities in Catholic and Lutheran Bible-reading habits in Germany. While it is true that Sorbonne theologians issued prohibitions for Catholics against reading all or parts of the canonical Bible,(68) it is also true that some of their German Lutheran counterparts urged that “weaker” readers of the Bibles be provided with a chrestomathy, which would contain only that which could be read without offence or difficulty.(69) Furthermore, it is often overlooked that Catholic prohibitions against lay Bible reading were interpreted very differently from one country to another. The forewords to various German Catholic Bible story collections for children and for adults provide evidence of indifference by individual members of the Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy towards Catholic Bible ownership in Germany in the early modern period.(70) But it was above all the forewords of Protestant Bibles of all sorts — canonical, Bible stories for adults and Bible stories for children — that maintained and nourished the myth of Protestant biblicity in former times.(71)

Historians have often equated Bible possession with Bible reading but, as far as Protestant Bible reading was concerned, some contemporaries asserted that the Bibles intended for the Protestant Everyman that had poured off Canstein presses for nearly a century had not been read by him but placed reverently on a shelf in his rural home as a sacred talisman.(72) Official attitudes within German Catholic and Lutheran congregations differed greatly, but for most children the result was similar.(73) What they read were psalms, set quotations, and Bible stories excerpted from the canonical text, while the canonical Bible seems to have been little read by the ordinary young communicant, whether of Lutheran or Catholic persuasion. The neat antitheses which have underpinned one hundred and fifty years of the historiography of confessional Bible-reading habits begin to disintegrate in the face of evidence from social history about reading material and the habits of daily life in early modern German families. (1) See Richard Gawthrop and Gerald Strauss, “Protestantism and Literacy in Early Modem Germany”, Past and Present, no. 104 (Aug. 1984), pp. 31-55, esp. p. 31. See also Gerald Strauss, “Lutheranism and Literacy: A Reassessment”, in Kaspar von Greyerz (ed.), Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (London, 1984), pp. 109-23; Gerald Strauss, “The Reformation and its Public in an Age of Orthodoxy”, in R. Po-Chia Hsia (ed.), The German People and the Reformation (Ithaca, N.Y., 1988), pp. 194-214. Geoffrey Parker has broadened the discussion in his article, “Success and Failure during the First Century of the Reformation”, Past and Present, no. 136 (Aug. 1992), pp. 43-82. (2) Fritz Seefeldt also made the point that German Protestant biblical instruction between 1525 and 1580 consisted of “Perikopenunterricht”, that is, the verses set for church use throughout the year: see Fritz Seefeldt, Zur Entstehung des biblischen Geschichtsunterrichts im deutschen Protestantismus (Chicago, 1925), p. 20. (3) Summaria vber die gantze Bibel das Alte und Newe Testament darin auffs kurtzste angezeygt wirdt was am notigsten vnnd nutzsten ist dem jungen Volck vnnd gemeyner [sic] Man aus allen Capiteln zu wissen und zu lernen darnach sie ihr Leben richten vnnd solcher feyner Lehre zu ihrer Seelen Seligkeit brauchen konnen (Nuremberg: Johan von Berg and Ulrich Neuber, 1545). (4) Theodor Bruggemann and Otto Brunken (eds.), Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, 3 vols. (Stuttgart, 1982-91; hereafter Handbuch zur Kinder- undyugendliteratur), “Religiose Literatur”, pp. 52-65. See also Ruth B. Bottigheimer, “Religion for the Young in Bible Story Collections (Kinderbibeln)”, Fabula, xxxii (1991), pp. 19-32, which treats children’s Bibles geographically in their European and American context and historically from their twelfth-century inception to the present. (5) For an early example of Catholic Bible stories for adults, see Martinus von Cochem, Auserlesenes, sehr anmuthiges und nutzliches Historien-Buch (Augsburg and Innsbruck: Joseph Wolff, 1766), which went through several editions in the seventeenth sic) and eighteenth centuries. (6) Richard Galle treated it as part of the history of Passion books in his “An der Wiege des |Biblischen Geschichts-Unterrichts’ und Luthers |Passionalbuch”‘, Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft fur deutsche Erziehungs- und Schulgeschichte, xvii (1907), pp. 175-235. The Passional has appeared in facsimile reprint, most recently as Martin Luther: ein Betbuchlin, 1529, ed. Frieder Schulz (Cassel, 1982). For a detailed treatment of the Passional with special reference to Genesis 3 and to its publishing history, see Ruth B. Bottigheimer, “Martin Luther’s Children’s Bible”, Wolfenbutteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte, xv (1990), pp. 152-61. (7) Foreword to Martin Luther, Passional (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1529), and in subsequent printings. (8) Of particular utility as a reference source for early modern German children’s literature is the Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, because it delineates in encyclopaedic form a subject which until recently scholars of children’s literature generally agreed did not exist. See my review essay, “German Children’s Literature”, n. 8 L.) Children’s Literature, xvii (1989), pp. 176-81, for an overview of recent publications. I would like to take this opportunity to correct my mistake in asserting the presence of an error in Passional dating in the Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur m Bottigheimer, “Martin Luther’s Children’s Bible”, p. 152. (9) Before this date, the find section had been devoted to a primer which taught reading using the “Our Father” as its text. (10) Significant textual and illustration changes took place in the 1530s and 1540s. The textual changes were in place by 1543 and perhaps earlier: see for example Martin Luther, Passional (Leipzig: Nicolaus Wolrab, 1543; copy in the Firestone Library, Princeton University). Major illustration changes took place first in 1538 with the substitution of better copies of woodcuts from Durer’s Kleine Passion and later with pirated illustrations (for examples, in Wolrab’s 1543 edition) from other, similar publications, such as Wendelin Rihel’s Leienbibel (Strasburg: Rihel, 1540). Later editions published by Lufft contain a mix of illustrations from different sources. (11) Otto Brunfels (also spelled Braunfels), Catalogi (Cologne: Otto Gymnich, 1528 or later) is not, properly speaking, a collection of Bible stories. (12) Helga Hammerstein-Robinson discussed the Betbuchlin in “Luther and the Laity”, in her The Transmission of Ideas in the Reformation (Dublin, 1989), pp. 11-46, esp. pp. 304. Her conclusion that Luther’s foreword to the Passional can be understood as promoting “horizontal communication of the knowledge of the Word” (p. 34), that is, home-based teaching, represents a change from Luther’s earlier pithy indictment of the home as an inadequate teaching locus: see Martin Luther, An die Radtherrn aller stedte deutschesiands: das sie Christliche schulen auffrichten vnd hallten sollen (Wittenberg, 1523). (13) A complete set of Luther’s Betbachlin including the Passional does not exist in any single location. To date I have studied editions from the following years: 1529, 1531, 1538, 1543, 1549, 1551, 1554, 1557, 1558. Pin-pointing the precise date of these textual alterations awaits subsequent study. (14) Quoted in Strauss, “Lutheranism and Literacy”, p. 115. (15) After Luther’s death, Lufft published the Betbuchlin mit dem Calender vnd Passional auffs new corrigiert vnd gemehret in 1549, 1554, 1558, 1561 and 1566. Jacobus Berwald also published it in this format in Leipzig in 1554 and 1560, as did Joachim Heller in Nuremberg in 1557. Two final Wittenberg editions appeared in 1588 and 1592, the latter by Zacharias Lehmann. The publisher of the former is not known. (16) Martin Luther, Ein new Betbuchlin des seligen unnd tewren Mans Gottes Doctoris Lutheri aus seinen eigen Geisttrost und Lebendigen Worten unnd Tomis gezogen (Leipzig, Jacobus Berwald, 1566). (17) I am grateful to Robert Kolb and Cornelia Niekus Moore for discussion, of this material. (18) Beteglocklin Doctoris Martini Lutheri Von allen wolklingenden Geystreichen hertzlichen starcken und feurigen Gebetten aus allen des Mannes Gottes getruckten Buchern zusammen gestimmet (Strasburg: Bernhard Jobin, 1579, 1580). (19) One aspect of popular befief in the magical properties of images of Luther has been discussed by R. W. Scribner, “Incombustible Luther: The Image of the Reformer in Early Modem Germany”, Past and Present, no. 110 (Feb. 1986), pp. 38-68. (20) These questions were posed in Bottigheimer, “Martin Luther’s Children’s Bible”, p. 158. (21) See Hermann Gelhaus, Der Streit um Luthers Bibelverdeutschung im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Tubingen, 1989). (22) Reinhold Vormbaum, Die evangelischen Schulordnungen des sechszehnten Yahrhunderts, 3 vols. (Gutersloh, 1860-4), i, pp. 27-9. (23) R. W. Scribner’s stress on sixteenth-century illiteracy also supports Gawthrop and Strauss’s conclusions: see R. W. Scribner, “Oral Culture and the Transmission of Reformed Ideas”, in Hammerstein-robinson (ed.), Transmission of Ideas in the Reformation, pp. 83-104. (24) Bartholomaeus Lenderich, for example, acknowledges Luther’s Passional in the preface (p. lv) to his Kleine Historische Biblia (Nuremberg: Johann Hoffmann, 1677). (25) Erste (sic) Theyl Biblischer Historien (,, 1st printing 1555, 2nd printing 1569): see K. Knoke, “Hartmann Beyers biblische Historien”, Theologische Studien und Kritiken, iv (1891), pp. 777-82. (26) From 1714 onwards Johann Hubner’s Zweymahl zwey und funffzig Auserlesene Biblische Historien was available as a Protestant school Bible. See Christine Reents, Die Bibel als Schul- und Hausbuch fur Kinder (Gottingen, 1984). (27) Johann Hubner, Zweymahl zwey und funffzig Auserlesene Biblische Historien, ed. Rainer Lachmann and Christine Reents (Hildesheim, 1986), p. 137. (28) Johann Peter Miller, Erbauliche Erzahlungen (Leipzig: Weygand, 4th printing, 1773), p. 71. (29) Jakob Friedrich Feddersen, Lehrreiche Erzahlungen aus der biblischen Geschichte fur Kinder (Halle: Hemmerdesche Buchhandlung, 3rd printing, 1782), p. 164. (30) Ibid. (6th printing, 1785), p. 64. (31) Georg Friedrich Seiler, Das grossere biblische Erbauungsbuch, 16 unnumbered vols. (Erlangen: Bibelanstalt, 1788-95), p. 286. (32) An early disappearance of Bathsheba from the David narrative occurs in the Protestant Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf’s Poetischer Bilderschatz der vornehmnsten Biblischen Geschichten (Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1758). This direction was followed by the Catholic Johann Ignaz von Felbiger in his Kern der Geschichte des alten und neuen Testaments (Cologne, 1801), which had appeared previously in 1782. (33) For an early example of omitting the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, see johann Gottlieb Seidentopf, Moral der biblischen Geschichte Alten Testaments zum Gebrauch der sorfaltig Gebildeten Jugend und ihrer Lehrer, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1803-6). (34) Ibid. (35) Anon., Erzdhlungen aus dem alten und neuen Testamente fur die Volksschulen des Kantons Zziricks (Zurich, Ist printing, 1835). (36) Johann Andreas Hoffmann, Erzdhlungen aus der Geschichte des Menchegeschlechtes fur die reifere Yugend (Zurich, 1842). (37) “Wo anderer Religion Kinder, als Papstische und Reformirte, in hiesigen Schulen sich finden, soll von ihnen nicht geduldet noch angenommen werden, dass sie eine andere Uebersetzung der Heil. Schrifft als Lutheri Uebersetzung oder einen andem Catechismum als Lutheri, hersagen, und in die Schul bringen”: Vormbaum, Die evangelischen Schulordnungen, ii, p. 759. (38) Vormbaum, Die evangelischen Schulordnungen, iii, pp. 211-12. When Lutheran pietist educational reforms encountered hostility in Lutheran principalities, Reformed Prussia accepted and nurtured early reforms which subsequently formed the basis for school reform throughout the Germanies (see Richard Gawthrop, “Literacy Drives in Preindustrial Germany”, in Robert F. Arnove and Harvey J. Graff, eds., National Literacy Campaigns: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, New York and London, 1987, pp. 29-48, esp. pp. 40-1), yet another case of a differential Lutheran and Reformed response to specific questions about and uses for literacy. (39) See Gerhard Schormann, “Zweite Reformation und Bildungswesen am Beispiel der Elementarschulen”, in H. Schilling (ed.), Die reformierte Konfessionalisierung in Deutschland: das Problem der “Zweiten Reformation” (Schriften des Vereins fur Reformationsgeschichte, cxcv, Gutersloh, 1986), pp. 308-16. (40) Vormbaum, Die evangelischen Schulordnungen, ii, p. 485. (41) Das Newe Testament (Hanau: Thomas Willier and Johan le Clercq, 1612). See below, p. 82. (42) I particularly want to thank Otto Brunken of the Forschungsprojekt Geschichte der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, University of Cologne, for putting the Handbuch’s 1570-1750 bibliographical listings of children’s books at my disposal and for generously helping me locate relevant publications. (43) Matthaeus Lunguvitius, Christliches Haus-Regiment (Leipzig: Lunguvitium, 1615). (44) For a discussion of Reformed editions and translations of the Bible — Heidelberg (1568), Neustidter (1579-91), Dresden (1589-91), Herbom (1595), Cassel (1601) and the Polanus New Testament (1603) — see Heinrich Schlosser, Die Piscatorbibel (Heidelberg, 1908), pp. 1-20. (45) See Heinrich Schmidt, Die Piscatorbibel (Heidelberg, 1908), esp. pp. 3-20; Heinrich Steitz, Geschichte der Evangelischen Kirche in Hessen und Nassau, ii (Marburg, 1%2), p. 179. (46) See, for example, H. Schilling, Niedertindische Exulanten im 16. Jahrhundert: ihre Stellung im Sozialgefuge und im religiosen Leben deutscher und englischer Stadte (Gutersloh, 1972). (47) Patrick Collinson, “England and International Calvinism”, in M. Prestwich (ed.), International Calvinism, 1541-1715 (Oxford, 1985), pp. 197-223, at p. 214. See also Wilhelm Heinrich Neuser’s important essay, “Die Erforschung der |Zweiten Reformation’: eine Fehientwicklung”, in Schilling (ed.), Die reformierte Konfessionalisierung in Deutschland, pp. 379-86. (48) From G. F. Schumacher, Genrebilder aus dem Leben eines siebenzig jahrigen Schulmanns (Schleswig, 1841), quoted in Jurgen Schlumbohm (ed.), Kinderstuben: Wie Kinder zu Bauern, Burger, Aristokraten wurden, 1700-1850 (Munich, 1983), pp. 368-9. (49) Ibid. (50) The papers of the 1984 Huningen congress edited by Peter Blickle, Zwingli und Europa: Referate und Protokoll des Intemationalen Kongresses aus Anlass des 500. Geburtstages Huldrych Zwingli vom 26. bis 30. Marz 1984 (Zurich, 1985), are principally theological in orientation and do not add materially to the discussion of social variety within early German Calvinism. (51) Jean La Fite, Catechisme, ou instruction sur les principales matieres de la religion chretienne (Hanau: Jean Jacques Beausang, 1728). Beausang printed much material for the Reformed community in Hanau. (52) Wilhelm Diehl, Reformationsbuch der evangelischen Pfarrereien des Grossherzogtums Hessen (Friedberg, 1917), pp. 535, 543-5. (53) See Hans Vollmer, “Beitrage zur Geschichte des biblischen Unterrichts, besonders in Deutschland, vor Justus Gesenius und Johann Hubner”, Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft fur deutsche Erziehungs- und Schulgeschichte, xiv (1904), pp. 278-305. (54) Christoph Kolb, Die Bibel in der evangelischen Kirche Altwurttembergs (Stuttgart, 1917), p. 131. (55) Karl Aland, Carl Hildebrand von Canstein und die von Cansteinsche Bibelanstalt (Bielefeld, 1983). My thanks to Dominique Bourel for putting this work in my hands. (56) Baron von Canstein noted in his address to the “Christian Reader” prefacing the 1714 edition of the Bible (p. 4, para. 3) that “such a project can best be undertaken and [then] continued here in Halle within the institutional arrangements of the orphanage” (“solches Werk am fuglichsten hier zu Halle bey den Anstalten des Waysen-Hauses konte unternommen und fortgesetzet werden”). In discussing costs, Baron von Canstein notes book size, print-runs, paper colour and quality, typeface, typesetting, and selling price in detail (pp. 9-13), but makes no mention of labour costs. The orphanage, he said, did not profit from the sale of the Bibles, but bore the undertaking as “a burden shouldered entirely willingly and voluntarily” (“eine wiewol gar gern und freywillig ubernommenen Beschwerde”) (p. 14). (57) First published in 1714. Johann Hubner, Zweymahl zwey und funffzig Auserlesene Biblische Historien, ed. Lachmann and Reents, is an edition with introduction and essays of the final (1731) edition published during Hubner’s lifetime. For a discussion of school use of Hubner, see pp. 74-87, 105-8, 153-70. (58) Hubner’s children’s Bible was also translated on numerous occasions: see Reents, Die Bibel als Schul- und Hausbuch fur Kinder, appendix VI, pp. 240-74, esp. PP. 269-73. For an analysis of Hubner’s editing practices, see Ruth B. Bottigheimer, “An Alternative Eve in Johann Hubner’s Children’s Bible”, Children’s Literature Quart., no. 16.2 (summer 1991), pp. 73-8. (59) Johann Caspar Lavater and Johann Jakob Hess, Biblische Erzahlungen fur die Jugend. Altes Testament (Zurich: Orell, Gessner, Fuesslin, 1772); Ludwig Chr. Muller, Den bibelske Historie, trans. m. Lindborg (Aalborg, 1848); [Christoph von Schmid], Biblische Geschichte fur die Jugend (Munich, 2nd printing, 1806). (60) The position of children’s Bibles within the programme of individual publishing houses is an undocumented area. Although it forms no part of this enquiry, it could be investigated with specific reference to children’s literature by using data available in the publisher registers of the Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur. (61) For a detailed discussion of Der Ritter von Turn, see Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, i, cols. 739-78. Defining La Tour Landry’s work as children’s literature is not altogether unproblematic; none the less his moralized narratives provide an early example of a pervasive model for children’s Bible stories. (62) Ludwig Bechstein, Mythe, Sage, Mare und Fabel im Leben und Bewusstsein des deutschen Volkes’ 3 vols. (Leipzig, 1854-5; repr. Osnabruck, 1969), ii, p. 96. (63) Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, i, col. 53. (64) Nicolas Fontaine, L’histoire du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament (Paris: Pierre le Petit, 1670; copy at Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel). This volume is frequently incorrectly attributed to Louis Isaac Le Maistre de Sacy (1613-84), who translated the Vulgate into French, publishing it in thirty-six duodecimo volumes between 1672 and 1695; he did not, however, produce a Bible for children. (65) Introduced in abbreviated form by Henry Feydeau de Brou, bishop of Amiens, into public schools in 1704, Fontaine’s stories were adopted in innumerable schools in France in the next century and a half. (66) Matthaus Merian, Icones Biblicae (Strasburg: Lazarus Zetzner, 1625). This edition was probably antedated by the 1625 Frankfurt edition. The 1630 edition has been reproduced with English translations as Mathaeus Merian: Iconum Biblicarum (Wenatchee, W. Aust., 1981); with German text its illustrations were reproduced as Mathaeus Merian: die Bilder zur Bibel, mit Texten aus dem Alten und Neuen Testament, ed. Peter Meinhold (Hamburg, [1965]). (67) Published originally in Paris at Charles de Sercy in 1670-5, it was last published in 1865, having had a total of only seven printings in its entire published history. (68) The bibliography is enormous. For recent treatments, see Victor Baroni, La Bible dans la vie catholique depuis la Reforme (Lausanne, 1955), pp. 89-98; more recently, Roger Chartier, Dominique Julia and Marie-Madeleine Compere, L’education en France du XVIe au XVIIIe siecle (Paris, 1976), pp. 114, 126-8. (69) See August Hermann Niemeyer, Briefe an christliche Religionslehrer (Halle: Waisenhaus-buchhandl 1797), p. 104. Niemeyer was Consistorialrat and professor of Theology. (70) Martinus von Cochem said that his Bible stories were meant to serve the common folk who had no Bible (Auserlesenes und nutzliches Historien-Buch, p. [2.sup.r]), while the Catholic Johann Ignaz von Felbiger adjured his readers to read the divine Scriptures “frequently and with an avid desire to learn”, because it is like speaking with God himself (quoted from article on Felbiger in Handbuch zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, iii, odi. 742). (71) See Walter F. Classen, Biblische Geschichte nach den neueren Forschungen fur Lehrer und Eltern (Hamburg, 1908), p. i, for one example among scores. (72) Friedrich Erdmann August Heydenreich, Ueber den Charakter des Landmanns in religioser Hinsicht: Ein Beytrag zur Psychologie fur alle, welche auf das religiose Bildungsgeschaft desselben Einfluss haben — vorzuglich fur Landprediger (Leipzig: Dykische Buchhandlung, 1800), pp. 303-7. For the references to Heydenreich and Niemeyer, I am indebted to Rudolf Schenda. (73) Richard A. Crofts concludes that Catholic and Protestant behaviour concerning books and publishing were more similar than has been thought in two studies of Catholic versus Protestant printing 1510-20 and 1521-45. They are “Books, Reform and the Reformation”, Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte, lxxi (1980), pp. 21-36; “Printing, Reform and the Catholic Reformation in Germany”, Sixteenth Century Jl., xvi (1985), pp. 369-81. Jennifer Loach, “The Marian Establishment and the Printing Press”, Eng. Hist. Rev., ci (1986), pp. 135-48, suggests that the same is true of sixteenth-century England.

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