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Journal > Volumes > 46 (2015) / 2 (Summer)
The Lost Book of the Strasbourg Prophets: Orality, Literacy, and Enactment in Lienhard Jost’s Visions

Although Lienhard Jost is recognized as a leading member of the “Strasbourg prophets” and an important influence on the Anabaptist leader Melchior Hoffman, Jost’s prophecies have been thought to be entirely lost. A copy of Jost’s prophecies was preserved in Vienna, however, and this newly rediscovered book provides a new source for early Anabaptism in Strasbourg and enables a thorough revision of Jost’s life and work, which have been subject to considerable uncertainty. Jost’s account of his life and visions documents the experience and mentality of an early modern peasant visionary. Jost engaged in a decadelong struggle with literacy as he moved from rejecting to embracing the potential of the written word, even as he remained illiterate. As a prophet, Jost both repeated and physically performed the messages he was directed to deliver to the civic leaders, clergy, and citizens of Strasbourg.

Pages: 313 - 329