Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2021

‚Die Wahrheit erzeugt Verdruss und scheut deshalb das Licht‘

Der frühneuzeitliche Chronist im Zwiespalt zwischen wissenschaftlichem Anspruch, Lehrabsicht und Geheimnisverrat

Gerhard Wolf


To the extent that the chroniclers of the early modern age detached themselves from salvation and world history and more frequently turned to the alternative stocks of knowledge found in regional, local and family historiography, it became more necessary that these authors considered what information would be allowed to become known and if counter-reactions were possible. This problem could be countered by reporting only what was positive or harmless, but in doing so, one violated the humanistic claims to truth that increasingly became the maxim of the emerging early historical science at the time. This essay uses the monumental ‘Zimmerische Chronik’ from the middle of the 16th century as an example to demonstrate how the author moves in this field of tension and differing demands. It shows how they pursue the question of the treatment of secrets both by means of abstract considerations and narrative episodes, and in doing so discovers what power of interpretation they acquire through the targeted uncovering of secrets, both towards competing genders and towards rival chroniclers. The chronicler, who differentiates between different categories of secrets, surprisingly regards secrets as a potential threat to the stability of societies, and through this process, with each step, they come ever closer to the Protestant idea of complete transparency.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
Scroll Up Arrow