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The Source:

Johann Pilich:
"Drey Predigten zum eingang des newen Jahrs"
Wittenberg, 1585

The Case

This is from a sermon by the Reverend Johann Pilich talking about the plague that was killing off the people from his parish.

"Die Andern seind die abgöttischen die sich mit Gottes straff, wie der hund mit dem stein damit getroffen, beissen, nicht erkennen das solche straffe von Gott herkomme und das sie mit iren Sünden darzu ursach gegeben, sondern dieselbige einem Teuffelsgespenst zuschreiben und auch vermeinen durch unchristliche und von Gott verbotene Mittel abzuwenden. Sie geben für es sey ein Mensch, an der Pestilenz gestorben, unrecht begraben worden, der fresse im grabe umb sich, und ursache mit solchem fressen das sterben, und fresse die leute nach sich und könne das sterben nicht ehe auffhören und nachlassen bis man in aus grabe und den hals mit der Spate absteche."

This more or less translates into:

"The others are idolators. Like a dog that bites when you throw a stone at it, they do not acknowledge that they are being punished by God. They do not admit that it is their sins that have caused it, but rather blame some diabolical spectre. And they also think they can stop it with unchristian practices forbidden by God. They pretend it is a person, died of the plague, buried the wrong way, that is eating in the grave, and causes with its eating those deaths, and the dying will not stop until it is taken from the grave to have its neck cut through with a spade."

The Reverend Pilich continues his sermon condemning the evil characters who take part in such superstitions. But it is a long long sermon and there is no way I am going to try to translate all that. If you are interested in theology and moral issues, I suggest that you find the book and read it yourself.

The Date:

We have been given the year of 1584.

The Place:

Why Jüterbog ? Because that is where Johannes Pilcher (1544-1611) was "Pfarrern der beyden Pfarrkirchen and Senioris des Ministerii". I did find Jüterbog (or Jüterbock), East of Magdeburg and to the South of Potsdam.

Possible Follow-Up:

What can we do ? I'd say you could try and find yourself a copy of Johannes Pilich's "Drey Predigten zum eingang des newen Jahrs". They are pretty impressive sermons, if you are into that kind of thing. I have no trouble imagening the Reverend Pilich thundering hell and damnation at his congrecation.

© 2014 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed November 2014

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