The Auffahrtabend prophecy and Henry of Langenstein: German adaptation and transmission of the "Visio fratris Johannis"

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Abstract

One of the most widely circulating prophecies of the fifteenth century, the "Auffahrtabend" text was adapted into German from the late thirteenth-century Latin "Visio fratris Johannis," and attributed to notables such as Hildegard of Bingen, the emperor Sigismund, and the theologian Henry of Langenstein. Despite its popularity and longevity, however, it has received only sporadic and often misleading treatment. Clarifying the origins, context, and significance of the "Auffahrtabend" prophecy, this article augments the known list of manuscript and early printed copies, pins down the provenance and transmission of the German text, and explores its historical milieu and meaning. Close analysis indicates that the prophecy was adapted between 1386 and 1396 by a member of Langenstein's circle in Vienna, and that its contents were shaped by the fusion of anxieties about the Great Schism, fourteenth-century German and Bohemian political concerns, and apocalyptic expectations of the looming century's end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-386
Number of pages32
JournalViator - Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • Apocalyptic
  • Ascension
  • Auffahrtabend
  • Henry of langenstein
  • Hildegard of bingen
  • Prophecy
  • Reformatio
  • Schism
  • Telesphorus
  • Visio

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