For example, the standard modern colloquialism for cheating is still bescheissen (,to shit upon'). The expression has a strong pedigree; its connotative etymology can be found in many works in the vernacular of the Gutenberg era. The first popular bestseller, Sebastian Brant's Das Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools), 1494, delineates in section 102 under the heading 'Von Falsch und Beschiss' (,Of Falsehood and Cheating') two particular areas of the metaphorical expression that are significant in our context. The first is the obvious connection to cheating in business, be it with false coins or dirty dealings; the other is a condemnation of 'alchemy' used in the narrow sense of brewing late medieval patent medicines with questionable ingredients and processes. This is no casual coincidence: money and medicine had a strong connection to human excrement in late medieval times. And in turn, scatological language permeated the popular discourse of that period because it was far more manifest and visible in public and rrivate life at that time than it has been in more recent periods of modern history. Before turning to the scatological evidence in early German Reformation satire I shall demonstrate
One of the most widely known pre-Reformation anti-clerical texts is the German picaresque collection of Till Eulenspiegel stories (after 1500). This trickster who led burghers, farmers, and priests by the nose reserved his scatological triumph for the deathbed. 3 Anecdote 92, 'Wie Ulenspiegel sein Testament macht, darin der Pfarrer sein Hand beschei13' ('How Eulenspiegel makes his last will and testament and a priest gets shit on his hands'), narrates how he lets a priest know he wants to make peace with the church. He indicates that he will leave his money to the priest provided the latter will give him the sacrament of the dying. But when the greedy priest gropes for the hidden gold coins, he finds them in a dark closet, and only too late does he realize in his hasty quest that they are at the bottom of a full chamber pot. Sigmund Freud, therefore, was not the first to make the connection!4 Here we have the anti-clerical triad of money, shit, and religion that was to fully explode into the satirical Reformation discourse as holy and unholy shit.