Martyrs Mirror
The Martyrs Mirror or The Bloody Theater, first published in 1660 in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 by Thieleman J. van Braght
Thieleman J. van Braght
Thieleman J. van Braght 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 opponents of the Roman Catholic Church who died as martyrs...

, documents the stories and testimonies of Christian martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s, especially Anabaptists. The full title of the book is The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, 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
The Amish , sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches...

 and Mennonite
The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after the Frisian Menno Simons , who, through his writings, articulated and thereby formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders...


In 1745, Jacob Gottschalk arranged with the Ephrata Cloister
Ephrata Cloister
The Ephrata Cloister or Ephrata Community was a religious community, established in 1732 by Johann Conrad Beissel at Ephrata, in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania...

 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
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. 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
Jan Luyken
Johannes or Jan Luyken was a Dutch poet, illustrator and engraver.-Biography:...

. Thirty of these plates survive and are part of the Mirror of the Martyrs exhibit.

External links

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