Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…

> A colleague brought this item to my notice. It’s part of a sammelband (a fancy German term for a bound collection of separately issued works) of seventeenth century religious pamphlets. The author’s name conjures (pun intended) images of Harry Potter and the rest of J. K. Rowling’s world. This collection is a real find, especially if you are interested in the formation of religious sects in the early modern period.

Lodowicke Muggleton (1609-1698) was born in England during the reign of James I (the famous English Bible which that monarch authorized was published in 1611). In the 1630s Muggleton became a zealous puritan, until puritanism became more moderate, at which point (in the late 1640s) he withdrew and declared himself an agnostic. By 1650 he was twice a widower–hard on his wives, it seems, and no wonder–he began to have “inward revelations” in 1651 and ’52 (hearing voices is, and always has been, a bad sign). He and his cousin, John Reeve (1608-1658) formed a sort of cult with themselves as the prophets, which became known as the Muggletonians (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muggletonian).

They had a pamphlet war with the Quakers at the time, and the works in our volume are all related to Muggleton and his sect. They are, in order of their binding, A transcendent spiritual treatise upon several heavenly doctrines (1652), A divine looking-glass: or, the third and last testament of our Lord Jesus Christ (1661); Joyful news from heaven (1658); A true interpretation of the eleventh chapter of the Revelation of St. John (1662); A true interpretation of all the chief texts, and mysterious sayings and visions opened, of the whole book of the Revelation of St. John (1665); The neck of the Quakers broken: or, Cut in sunder by the two edged sword of the spirit which is put into my mouth (1663); A letter sent to Thomas Taylor, Quaker, in the year 1664 (1665); and finally, A true interpretation of the Witch of Endor (1669), the title-page of which is shown.

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