, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 491-501

First online:

Images of Jews and Judaism in Georg Rollenhagen’s drama Vom reichen Manne und armen Lazaro

  • Elliott BergmanAffiliated withGermanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh Email author 

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Georg Rollenhagen of Magdeburg (1542–1609) wielded considerable influence as headmaster of the best-attended Gymnasium in German-speaking lands. His work Froschmeuseler from 1595 (inspired in part by Luther’s translation of the Bible) demonstrates his diverse interests in classical Greek and fabulistic themes. He was one of the authors of his time who, writing in the New High German vernacular, recognized the unifying potential of burgeoning European literatures. The scholarship on Rollenhagen is scant. It consists of a few articles on Froschmeuseler and biographical sketches. Of particular interest is Rollenhagen’s Von Reichen Manne und armen Lazaro, eine deutsche Action (1590), a drama that interprets the New Testament parable of Lazarus and the rich man through the lens of Lutheranism and figures the Jews as prominent players in its overall allegorical meaning. This article examines the images of the Jews and Judaism found in Rollenhagen’s drama vis-à-vis tropes from Martin Luther’s rhetoric on the Jews.


German Reformation Martin Luther Anti-Judaism Drama Magdeburg Jews