ABSTRACT

“Dr Martin Luther said: Printing is summum et postremum donum, that through which God drives the objectives of the evangelists forward. It is the last flame before the extinction of the world.” With this enthusiastic encomium on printing, Johann Aurifaber closes his Table-talk (Tiscb-reden oder Colloquia Doctor Martin Luthers) of 1566, in which he passes on the ideas of the Reformation in popular form through lively quotations. Aurifaber (1519–75) discerns in Luther’s graphic dictum the central role of printing in the spread of Reformational doctrines, and above all of the Bible itself. The quotation also reminds us indirectly of the bilinguality of literature in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; works in Latin predominated, although nearly three times as much vernacular literature appeared between 1518 and 1526 as did between 1501 and 1517.