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Chapter Summary

One of the most contentious pamphlets in sixteenth-century Germany was the Augenspiegel by Johannes Reuchlin. Reuchlin's booklet dealt with Jewish religious literature, a theme ignored by humanist writers. During Reuchlin's lifetime Jewish communities were expelled from almost all the towns and cities of the German speaking territories including the areas where he lived and worked. The authors of this intellectual movement sought to uncover the true foundation of knowledge and introduced a mass of publications in the vernacular to criticise publicly the social, political and intellectual norms prevailing, and to mobilise widespread demand for reform of the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire, and university education. Publication of Reuchlin's text restrictive policies were being applied to Jews in many regions. H. Peterse considered Reuchlin's mandate to examine the Jewish books to be directly related to the emperor's attempt to re-establish his authority over the Jews throughout the empire.

Keywords:Augenspiegel; Germany; Jewish communities; Johannes Reuchlin; Roman Catholic Church



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