First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
FOLIO I recto

As it sometimes happens among the most learned and distinguished men who have written of the true nature and history of the creation of the world and the birth of man, that two different accounts exist, so we will begin with those early times and write briefly of those remote matters as far as is possible, considering their age. Some were of the opinion that the world was not born and that it is indestructible; that the human race has existed from eternity and had no origin. Others maintained that the world was born and is destructible, and that man took possession of it from birth. And the highly enlightened Greeks who collected all the histories and accounts subscribed to the theory that before the beginning of all things of heaven and earth and while these things were still together, there was but a single form; that later through separation and division of matter, the world took on the order and structure in which we now see it. They say that because the air and the fiery part of its upper state were constantly in motion, these became lighter, and that the sun and many of the stars are carried about in it. But the dark and substantial part, together with the moist things, were carried to the lowest region by their own weight. After these things were mixed, the sea came out of the mist, and the substantial matter, which was loamy and soft, became the earth. And as the earth first became denser through the heat of the sun, there originated decaying ooze, covered by a thin skin, and out of such marshes and puddles came a variety of living forms. Those who had received more heat became winged creatures and soared into the upper regions; but the drier and heavier ones became crawling and earthly animals. Those which attained to a watery nature were carried into the element intended for their species. Now as the earth through the heat of the sun and the action of the air became dry, there was born a collective mixture of more perfect creatures, male and female. To this testifies Euripides, the tragedian, a disciple of Anaxagoras, the master of natural history. In the same manner they say the people were born in the field, roaming afar, and living a wild and unregulated life, and to whom the herbs and the fruits of the trees offered sustenance. However, as much is taught, old and new, that has been written concerning these matters, not only in Latin and Greek, but also in Chaldean and Hebrew, we will leave these old errors and look at the mysterious Mosaic writings about the creation of the world and of the work of the six days in which the mysteries of all nature are comprehended. For Moses, the prophet, father of God’s historians, through the dictation of the holy spirit of the Master of all truth, fully understood all these things, and to his human understanding and experience in all fields of learning, our people and his people, as well as the pagans, have testified. Solomon in his book of wisdom, as an expounder of nature and of living things, acknowledges that he derived his learning of these inmost matters from the laws of Moses. This man (as Luke and Philo, our own brave teachers say) was highly experienced in all the lore of the Egyptians. And, according to Hermippus, Pythagoras also derived much of his philosophy from the Mosaic law. Numenius, the philosopher, states that Plato was a very Attic Moses;[In these sentences Schedel slightly paraphrases the (pp. 170-172) of Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494): "Extat apud Hebraeos, Salomonis illius cognomento sapientissimi, liber cui Sapientia titulus, non qui nunc in manibus est . . . secretiore lingua compositus, in quo vir, naturae rerum sicuti putatur interpres, omnem se illiusmodi disciplinam fatetur de Mosaicae legis penetralibus accepisse. Sunt item, quantum attinet ad nostros et Lucas et Philon auctores gravissimi illum in universa Aegyptiorum doctrina fuisse eruditissimum. Aegyptiis autem usi sunt praeceptoribus Graeci omnes qui habiti fuere diviniores: Pythagoras, Plato, Empedocles et Democritus. Notum illud Numenii philosophi non aliud esse Platonem quam Atticum Mosem." ("There exists among the Hebrews, under the name of the wise Solomon, a book called , not the one we now have, the work of Philo, but another, written in that secret language called Hierosolyma, in which the author, an interpreter, it is thought, of the nature of things, confesses that he got all his learning of that sort from the inner meaning of the Mosaic law. We have the weighty authority, moreover, of both Luke and Philo that Moses was deeply learned in all the lore of the Egyptians. All the Greeks who have been considered the most excellent took the Egyptians as teachers: Pythagoras, Plato, Empedocles and Democritus. The saying of the philosopher Numenius that Plato was nothing but an Attic Moses is well known." English translation by D. Carmichael, from , translated by Charles Glenn Wallis, Paul J. W. Miller, and Douglas Carmichael, [Indianopolis, 1965] p. 68).] for in the beginning of his works upon nature a wealth of true wisdom lies buried. He speaks learnedly and wisely of all things as emanating from God, of their relationships, their number, and the regulation of their mutations. Wherefore it was a law with the old Hebrews (as Jerome also thinks) that no one, considering the remoteness of the age, should hark back to the creation. But what the most pious men, Ambrose and Augustine, Strabo and Bede, or Remigius, and the younger ones, Aegidius, Albertus, and also the Greek Philo, Origen, Basil, Theodorus, Appollinarius, Didymus, Gennadius, Chrysostom, etc. have written about this book we shall leave untouched. Nor will we make any mention of what the Jonethes or Anchelos, or Simeon the elder, in the Chaldean tongue, have said; nor of what was written by the Hebrews, Eleazadus, Aba, Joannes, Neonius, Isaac, Josephus, Gersonides, Sadias, Abraham, etc., but will briefly write the order of the six days in which, according to Moses, God created the earth.

Now as God created the earth, he placed at the head of his infinite work the first and greatest son, employing him as a counselor and master-craftsman in the planning, beautification and creation of things. For he was sufficiently endowed with wisdom and understanding. It is also asked out of what God made these great and wonderful things, for he made all things out of nothing; and therefore it is more righteous that insensible trifling things be ignored and the eyes directed to the seat, where is the abode of the true God, who endowed the earth with everlasting solidity, hung up shining stars in the heavens, distinguished the clearest suns, surrounded the earth with the sea, caused the rivers to flow, the fields to spread out, the valleys to sink, the forests to bedeck themselves with foliage, and the rocky mountains to rise. But this all Jupiter did not create, for it was created by the Master-craftsman of the world, the fountain-head of the best, who is called God, and whose beginning cannot be comprehended or discovered. Unto man it should be sufficient that there is a God, that he is the creator of the human race and the master-builder of this wonderful work. The ancients spoke of three kinds of worlds: the uppermost, the world of the angels; of the heavenly world; and of the one under the moon, in which we live, and this is the world of darkness, lighted, however, by the lights of heaven in regular course. In addition to these there is a fourth world in which all the attributes of the other worlds are to be found, and this world is man himself. In school we learned the saying that man is a little world in which elements of body and soul are intermixed – the growing spirit of plants, the sensitive faculty of unreasoning animals, and an intelligence and angelic disposition; and therein is seen God’s likeness. And all this according to Moses was ordained by the Almighty, as he learned on the Mount. We shall shortly relate what the book of Moses teaches about these six days.