Repository of Protestant Exempla in Icelandic Translation

  • Dario Bullitta
  • Kirsten Wolf


This article offers a first critical edition of Nokkrar eftirtakanligar smáhistoríur samantíndar til fróðleiks 1783, an Icelandic translation of sections of Andreas Hondorff’s Promptuarium exemplorum (“Repository of exempla”), which survives as Item 10 of Reykjavík, Landsbókasafn Íslands – Háskólabókasafn, JS 405 8vo (fols 25r–25r–56r), a paper codex written between 1780 and 1791 by the farmer Ólafur Jónsson í Arney (c. 1722–1800). The Promptuarium was a highly popular compendium gathering wonders, agades, parables, and legends from antiquity, late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance arranged according to the Ten Commandments. It found an ever-expanding audience among Lutherans interested in wisdom drawn from Scriptures, history, and the natural world and circulated widely in Europe in both German and Latin. The present study demonstrates that in all likelihood Ólafur Jónsson translated sections of the rearranged Latin text of the Promptuarium published by Philip Lonicer (1532– 1599) in 1575 under the title Theatrum historicum.