Martyrs Mirror

Martyrs Mirror
Anabaptist Dirk Willems rescues his pursuer and is subsequently burned at the stake in 1569.

The Martyrs Mirror or The Bloody Theater, first published in 1660 in Dutch by Thieleman J. van Braght, documents the stories and testimonies of Christian martyrs, especially Anabaptists. The full title of the book is The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660. The use of the word defenseless in this case refers to the Anabaptist belief in non-resistance. The book includes accounts of the martyrdom of the apostles and the stories of martyrs from previous centuries with beliefs similar to the Anabaptists.

Next to the Bible, the "Martyrs' Mirror" held the most significant and prominent place in Amish and Mennonite homes.[1]

In 1745, Jacob Gottschalk arranged with the Ephrata Cloister to have them translate the "Martyrs' Mirror" from Dutch into German and to print it. The work took 15 men three years to finish and in 1749, at 1512 pages, was the largest book printed in America before the Revolutionary War.[2] An original volume is on display at the Ephrata Cloister.

The 1685 edition of the book is illustrated with 104 copper etchings by Jan Luyken. Thirty of these plates survive and are part of the Mirror of the Martyrs exhibit.[3]

See also


External links

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  • Jan Luyken — (April 16 1649, Amsterdam April 5 1712, Amsterdam) was a Dutch poet, illustrator and engraver.His name is also shown as Johannes Luiken.At his twenty sixth, he had a religious experience that inspired him to write moralistic poetry. He… …   Wikipedia

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  • Dirk Willems — saves his pursuer in this etching from the 1685 edition of Martyrs Mirror. Dirk Willems (died 16 May 1569) was a martyred Anabaptist who is most famous for turning around to rescue his pursuer, who had fallen through t …   Wikipedia

  • Thieleman J. van Braght — (29 January 1625, Dordrecht 7 October 1664) was the Anabaptist author of the Martyrs Mirror or The Bloody Theater, first published in 1660 in Dutch. This work claimed to document the stories and testimonies of various early Protestants and… …   Wikipedia

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