Asher Lämmlein was a German born Jew who appeared in Istria, near Venice, in 1502 and, encouraged by the works of Isaac Abrabanel, proclaimed himself a forerunner of the Jewish Messiah. He declared that if the Jews showed great repentance and charity, the Messiah would not fail to appear in six months. He gained a troop of adherents who spread his prophesies though Italy and Germany, and his message met with such acceptance that the year became known as the "year of penance." Existing institutions were willfully destroyed in the belief of coming redemption and a return to Jerusalem. However, Lämmlein died or suddenly disappeared and the extravagant hopes of his followers came to an end.
Salo W. Baron suggests that disillusionment over the failed prophesies Lämmlein helped lead to the conversion of a few Jewish intellectuals to the Christian faith, including Victor von Carben and Johannes Pfefferkorn.
- also Lämmlin, Lemmlein
- Greenstone, Julius Hillel (1906). The Messiah Idea in Jewish History. The Jewish Publication Society of America. p. 189.
- Graetz, Heinrich; Philipp Bloch (1894). History of the Jews. Jewish Publication Society of America. p. 482.
- Gow, Andrew Colin (1995). The Red Jews: Antisemitism in an Apocalyptic Age, 1200-1600. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 90-04-10255-8.
Saverio Campanini, A Neglected Source concerning Asher Lemmlein and Paride da Ceresara: Agostino Giustiniani, in "European Journal of Jewish Studies" 2.1 (2008), pp. 89–110.