The Sacred Survivors – Printing and Perseverance in the Baltics during the Reformation

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The Sacred Survivors

June 28th, 2017 at 7PM.

First Lutheran Church of Boston

All are welcome

Turbulent is the history of many early printed books. This is certainly the case for the first books printed in Baltic languages. For instance, soon after the printing of the first book printed in Estonian (Wanradt-Koell’i Katekismus, 1535) it was ordered that all copies be destroyed. It was not until 1929 that fragments of it were discovered, in Tallinn, as part of a book binding. A similar fate was reported for the first book printed in Latvian.

The Sacred Survivors is essentially a clockwise bibliographical tour of Baltic countries. The books considered are Lutheran Catechisms. Most of them are also the first books printed in those languages.

The books were vehicles not just to promote the teaching of Martin Luther (1483-1546) but purposefully also promote the education of the common people. Tables to teach reading were often included.

The contents vary. For instance the Finnish ABCKiria is alone in having the Angelic Salutation.

The Catechisms are widely seen as mirrors of national culture and fortitude. For instance the very survival of the above mentioned Estonian fragments is regarded as symbolic of the entire Estonian people.

The Sacred Survivors makes considerable use of specialised imaging techniques. The use of backlighting has allowed high quality images to be archived of the surface content and of the paper structure eg watermarks. This has led to significant discoveries.

The Sacred Survivors celebrates the 500th Lutheran anniversary and co-incidentally marks the Finnish Independence of 1917.

Dr. Ian Christie-Miller, a scholar of early printing will host an interactive presentation

http://www.earlybook.info

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