This book surveys a neglected set of sources, German plague prints and treatises published between 1473 and 1573, in order to explore the intertwined histories of plague, print, medicine and religion during the Reformation era. It argues that a particularly German reform of healing flourished in printed texts during the Renaissance and Reformation as physicians and clerics devised innovative responses to the era’s persistent epidemics. These reforms are "German" since they reflect the innovative trends that originated in or were particularly strong within German-speaking lands, including the rapid growth of vernacular print, Protestantism, and new interest in alchemy and the native plants of Northern Europe that were unknown to the ancients. Their reforms are also "German" in the sense that they unfolded mainly in vernacular print, which encouraged physicians to produce local knowledge, grounded in personal experience and local observations as much as universal theories. This book contributes to the history of medicine and science by tracing the growth of more empirical forms of medical knowledge. It also contributes to the history of the Renaissance and Reformation by uncovering the innovative contributions of various forgotten physicians. This book presents the broadest study of German plague treatises in any language.

chapter |18 pages


chapter 2|22 pages

The German medicine of Johann Vochs

Medical and cultural reform on the eve of the Reformation

chapter 3|32 pages

The reformation of healing

Plague, physicians, and Protestantism in the 1520s

chapter 4|25 pages

The plague cures of Caspar Kegler

Print, alchemy, and medical marketing, 1521–1607

chapter 5|25 pages

The flourishing of German medicine, 1530–1580

Humanism, empiricism, and Protestantism

chapter |6 pages