Martyrs' Mirror

Stories of Christian Martyrs

The Martyrs Mirror, first published in 1660 in the Netherlands, tells the stories of Christian martyrs, especially those who were Anabaptists. Its author was Thieleman Jansz van Braght, elder of the Flemish Mennonite congregation at Dordrecht; illustrations were by engraver Jan Luiken.  (Copies of Luiken’s engravings can be viewed at: http://www.bethelks.edu/mla/holdings/scans/martyrsmirror/).

Historically for Amish and Mennonites, the Martyrs Mirror has been the most important book next to the Bible.  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 pacifism).

A prized possession, Anabaptist immigrants to Pennsylvania often brought along copies of the book on their ocean voyages to America.  The 1,100-page Martyrs Mirror continues to undergird Amish and Mennonite values today. Both it, and a paperback condensed version, Mirror of the Martyrs, are available for sale.

In our rare book collection the Society is pleased to have a number of rare editions, including the following (bibliographic information is reprinted from the books themselves), which can be viewed on request:

1660, published in Dutch in Dordrecht:  T.J.V.B. Het Bloedigh Tooneel der Doops-Gesinde, en Weereloose Christenen. Die / om het getuygenisse Jesu hares Salighmaeckers / geleden hebben / en gedoode zijn / van Christi tijdt af / tot dese onse laetfst tijden toe. . . . Dordrecht: Jacob Bratt, 1660. 892 pages.

1685, published in Dutch in Amsterdam: Braght, T.J.V. Het Bloedig Tooneel, of Martelaers Spiegel der Doops-Gesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die / om’t getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker / geleden hebben / ende gedood zijn / van Christi tijd af / tot desen tijd toe. . . . T’Amsterdam: J. vander Deyster, [et al.], 1685. [50], 450, [4], [12], 840, [8] pages.

1748, published in German in Ephrata, Pennsylvania (multiple copies associated with the following family names: Erb, Herr, Hershey, Mellinger, Seitz-/Herr, Swarr):  Braght, T.J.V. Der Blutige Schau-Platz oder Martyrer Spiegel der TauffsGesindnten oder Wehrlosen-Christen, die um des Zeugnuß Jesu ihres Seligmachers willen gelitten haben, und seynd getödten worden, von Christi Zeit an bis auf das Jahr 1660. . . . Ephrata in Pensylvanien, MDCCXLVIII [1748]. 56, 478, [4], [14], 949, [11] pages.

1780, published in German in Pirmasens, Germany: Braght, T.J.v. Der Blutige Schau-Platz oder Martyrer Spiegel der Taufs-Gesinnten oder Wehrlosen Christen, die um das Zeugnus Jesu ihres Seligmachers willen gelitten haben, und seynd getödtet worden, von Christi Zeit an bis auf das Jahr 1660. Pirmasens: Johann Friedrich Seelig, 1780. 52, 432, [6], 821, [7] pages.

1814, published in German in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (multiple copies, one of which is associated with Deacon Martin Mellinger): Braght, T.J.V. Der Blutige Schau-Platz, oder Martyrer Spiegel der Tauffs-Gesinnten, oder wehrlosen Christen, die um des Zeugnisses Jesu, ihres Seligmachers, willen, gelitten haben, und getödtet worden sind, von Christi Zeit an, bis auf das Jahr 1660. . . . 2. Americanische Aufl. Lancaster: (Pennsylvanien): Joseph Ehrenfried, 1814. [vi], 38, 340, [4], [10], 608, [8] pages.