Witchcraft accusations-Johann Fust

[Witchcraft accusations. Johann Fust (c. 1400 – October 30, 1466) was a business partner of Gutenberg, who invented movable type printing, which enabled mass production of books instead of hand-written manuscripts. Fust is sometimes confused with Faust, and has even been nominated as possibly the original Faust by some. Fust took some of Gutenberg’s newly printed bibles and tried to sell them in Paris:]

17th-century German portrait of Johann Fust (c. 1400 – October 30, 1466)  a business partner of Gutenberg.
17th-century German portrait of Johann Fust (c. 1400 – October 30, 1466) a business partner of Gutenberg. displaying a “sacred book,” their printed Bible.

“It was once believed that Johann Fust was working for the devil. After several of Gutenberg’s bibles were sold to King Louis XI of France, it was decided that Fust was performing witchcraft. This idea came about for a few reasons, including the fact that some of the type was printed in red ink, mistaken for blood. It was also discovered that all of the letters in these bibles, presented to the King and his courtiers as hand-copied manuscripts, were oddly identical. Fust had sold 50 bibles in Paris and the people there could not fathom the making and selling of so many bibles so quickly, because printing had not come to the forefront yet in France. Parisians figured that the devil had something to do with the making of these copies, and Fust was thrown into jail on charges of black magic. He was eventually released, since it was proved he was running a business in which printing enabled the rapid production of multiple copies of the same text.”

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Fust>

Georg Faust….Johann Fust

Johann Fust (Faust) of Maintz.
Johann Fust (Faust) of Maintz. A business partner of Gutenberg of printing press fame.

NOT Georg Faust. Although this has been identified as a portrait of the living Faust (www.bildarchivaustria.at), it is actually a portrait of the business partner of Gutenberg, Johann Fust, by Johann Leonhard Blanck.


There are similarities between the two men: They are from roughly the same area, and the same time period, and of course; their names are similar, as was their fame or notoriety.


Johann Fust was in France selling books off of the Gutenberg press for high prices and making lots of money while keeping the secret of their great invention (cheap books for the masses). No one could believe so many books could be produced, and he was arrested for witchcraft. In order to get the charges dropped, he had to reveal how it was done, and this is how the secret came out – and the price dropped.


Still, even if you had bought one of his new Bibles at the old manuscript prices, and kept it in good condition over the last 500 years, you could re-sell it for tens of millions of dollars. You can buy a single page today for only $100,000.