Mock-genealogy: ‘Antichrist’s Pedigree’

This satirical mock-genealogy is an adaptation of a passage in Martin Luther’s Table Talk where it occurs in a long section on the identification of the Pope as Antichrist. Its paratactic begats mimic those of Genesis, parodying the generational unfolding of early sacred history in order to produce a heavily ironised history of the origin of popish abomination which nevertheless carries the weight of biblical rhetoric and conceptions of time. The adaptation in this manuscript adds a new element: scriptural citations that summon a textual authority for each entry in this litany of sins, returning Luther’s irony to an exegetical method. Correlating allegorical representations of an ecclesiastical history with readings in scripture, it playfully offers a concise method for reading history exegetically. In the context of this politically Protestant manuscript miscellany which also includes transcripts of political speeches and sermons, secular satirical verse and devotional poems, news and didactic moral instruction, the mock genealogy also demonstrates how its modes of reading and understanding history and politics keep company with the materials of everyday life. BW

CUL: MS Gg.4.13

Further Reading

Dris Martini Lutheri colloquia mensalia, or, Dr Martin Luther’s divine discourses at his table, etc., […] translated out of the high Germane into the English tongue, by Capt. Henrie Bell (London: Printed by William Du-Gard, 1652), Gg4v-5r.

John Parker, The Aesthetics of Antichrist: From Christian Drama to Christopher Marlowe (Ithaca, 2007).

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