“He kommen . . . he comes . . . no, he goes . . . “

Katharina Meisnerin tried not to fidget while Friedrich struggled with the translation.

Dr. Green took pity on him, sort of. “Friedrich, parse that word, please.”

“Aorist tense . . . passive voice . . . indicative . . . ”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Uh, no.”

Katharina watched Dr. Green very carefully. “No” was usually the safe answer when he asked that question, but every once in a while it was a trap, just to see if a student had any confidence in his answer.

“Then what is it?”

Friedrich hemmed and hawed before finally admitting, “I don’t know.”

“Anyone?”

Katharina made sure to be studying her book intently. If she so much as twitched, she was going to get called on.

“Katharina?”

Alas, sitting still didn’t always work. “It’s a participle,” she answered.

“Correct. Friedrich, continue.”

Friedrich contemplated the participle for about ten seconds and ventured, “Second person, singular, from poreuomai, translated ‘going.'”

“Do participles have person?”

No! Katharina thought loudly in Friedrich’s direction. Case, gender, and number . . .

“What is a participle?” Dr. Green looked around the room. “Katharina?”

“A participle is a verbal noun.”

“What do nouns have instead of person?”

“Gender?” Friedrich guessed.

“And?”

“Number.”

“And?”

“Case?”

“Yes. So what is this?”

“Masculine, singular . . . nominative.”

“Correct,” Dr. Green said. “However . . . “

The bell rang. Thank you, God, Katharina prayed.

“However it is not passive, but deponent,” Dr. Green finished quickly. “For homework parse the rest of the verbs including participles in verses eighteen to twenty.”

Katharina started gathering up her books, hurrying to get to last period gym class on time.

“Katharina,” Dr. Green called.

“Yes?”

“We’ve received a letter. I’ll read it at the Bibelgesellschaft meeting.”

“Thank you.” Katharina practically floated down the hallway. Dr. Green knew she disliked gym class, so he’d timed his news to give her a distraction.

****

Forty minutes later, Katharina had to admit that basketball wasn’t actually cruel and unusual punishment. It just seemed that way because she could be doing something productive with her time. The gym teacher finally dismissed them, and she headed for the locker room.

“You know, Kat, you could be a good player if you’d just put in some extra practice. You could stay after tonight and practice with the team.”

Katharina recognized a recruiting pitch when she heard one. “No thanks, Kelli. I have a Bibelgesellschaft meeting. Dr. Green told us we’ve received a letter.”

Kelli Fritz rolled her eyes. “It’s a letter. What’s the big deal?”

“But it could be about a manuscript.” Katharina tried to rein in her excitement. She’d occasionally been told that it scared people.

“I don’t understand why your Bible society is looking for old Bibles. We’ve got perfectly good German and English Bibles. Now if you were making a new one in one of the Native American languages, that’d make sense. Or Turkish. Even Amideutsch.”

Katharina shook her head. “Amideutsch isn’t fixed yet. There’s no need for an Amideutsch Bible, anyway. Almost everyone who can read it could read Hochdeutsch or English. As far as Turkish and the Native American languages, Alicia and Nona need to find native speakers to do the translation.”

“The Abrabanels?” Kelli prompted.

“Kelli, why would the Abrabanels be interested in translating the New Testament? And they read the Old Testament in Hebrew, anyway.”

“But a couple of them came to one of your meetings,” Kelli recalled.

“We had some questions about the Hebrew in a few Old Testament passages,” Katharina told her. Which was entirely true. The Abrabanels had also passed along that they thought a Bible translation in any of the Native American languages would be an excellent idea, and that a relative who worked for the government had assured them that even if any such Bibles had to be given to Cardinal Richelieu for transport to the New World, that would be okay. But that wasn’t something Katharina intended to repeat.

So she redirected the conversation slightly. “In the meantime, those German and English Bibles you mentioned are not ‘perfectly good.’ They’re good, but we can look at the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and make the German and the English Bibles better.”

“How can you make the English better?” Amy Fodor chimed in. “Back up-time, we had the Dead Sea Scrolls and everything.”

“Shh!” Katharina looked around quickly before deciding that the girls’ locker room probably didn’t contain any Turkish spies. “We do not want the Turks finding out about those.”

“Sorry. But what else is left for you to do?”

“What’s left?” Katharina was aghast. “Even you up-timers didn’t have an up-to-date Majority Text in English. Just finding the manuscripts that you had but didn’t collate will take at least a century!”

“So where are you going to look for them?” Kelli asked.

“We’ve made some inquiries, and we’re going to Jena this spring to see if the theological faculty will help us.” Then realism set in, and Katharina added, “Or at least write letters of recommendation for us. And Dr. Green has a letter. Why don’t you come hear what it’s about?”

“I can’t. Practice. Let me know about it tomorrow, okay?” Kelli was equally adept at dodging a recruiting pitch.

“Okay.”

The last bell rang, and Katharina hurried toward the set of classrooms everyone had started calling “the language wing.” She met up with her friend Barbara on the way.

Dr. Green was tidying up after his other class, and Horst Felke was already there. He pointedly looked up at the clock. Katharina just smiled. She knew she and Barbara were on time. Getting there before she did mattered to Horst. He seemed to think it scored points for him in his ongoing competition with her.

Katharina was honest enough to admit that she really enjoyed outscoring Horst on a test. He usually beat her in math and science. She usually beat him in history. They were evenly matched in the languages, where they dueled for top of the class. But Katharina didn’t see the Bibelgesellschaft as an arena for competition. If Horst figured out something before she did, so be it. She was more concerned with getting as much information as possible accurately organized and set out for use by . . . whomever could use it. The Bibelgesellschaft was nondenominational.

It had gotten its start over a misunderstanding. Horst and a couple of his friends had accused the Anabaptists of not believing in the Trinity. And then, knowing Anabaptists wouldn’t fight back, they’d punched her brother Georg. Henry Sims and Gena Kroll had immediately flattened Horst and his friends. Herr Principal Saluzzo had assigned all concerned to go talk to both Father Larry Mazzare and Dr. Al Green. They’d quickly found out that their disagreement stemmed from differing biblical texts in 1 John 5:7-8. Both Mazzare and Green had insisted that this was not a doctrinal issue, and Katharina and Horst had grudgingly agreed to work together to find the best readings.

So the young Anabaptist woman didn’t bat an eye when two Jesuits entered the classroom. Their presence wasn’t a problem for her. Figuring out what to call them had been. “Do not call anyone on earth your father.” Horst had pointed out that Matthew 23 also said not to be called teacher, either. A heated discussion had broken out between the Bible society’s Catholics and Protestants. Katharina’s brother Georg had calmly observed that the verse seemed to be about religious authority, and that since honor was due to whom honor was due, it was acceptable to address a school teacher as a teacher. Since Johannes Grunwald, SJ, had been one of the Latin teachers, the students had addressed him as Magister Grunwald. And they did the same for Johannes Olearius and the other Latin teachers. And since Athanasius Kircher had written books and was regarded as an authority on any number of subjects, it would probably be acceptable to address him as Magister Kircher. In fact, Kircher was reasonably famous, and Katharina was pleasantly surprised that the Bibelgesellschaft was one thing with which he made an effort to stay up-to-date. To be honest, she was also more than a little surprised that her normally quiet brother had so quickly thought of a solution that everyone could live with. It also meant that Al Green was Dr. Green to all the students, even if most of their parents knew him as Brother Green.

Horst’s fellow Catholics Mattheus Beimler and Johann Speiss arrived next. Mattheus was an old Grantville hand who attended Calvert High. He was sixteen and headed for university as soon as he graduated. The BGS was only one of his wide array of interests. He took after Magister Kircher in that regard. He might become a priest some day, but he was equally likely to become a lawyer or scientist. Johann was, in the up-time phrase, tall, dark, and handsome. He attended the new Jesuit collegium in Grantville rather than Calvert High and had his heart set on being a priest, much to the dismay of many a young lady in Grantville.

A couple of Lutherans were right behind them. Markus Fratscher and Guenther Kempf were headed into the pastorate and wanted a good working relationship between the BGS and the University of Jena since that was where they hoped to attend. At least, Guenther hoped to attend there. He was also a member of the Young Crown Loyalists club and was determined to attend university in the USE. Markus, on the other hand, was Lutheran to the exclusion of anything else. He made no secret that he’d rather attend the University of Wittenberg, but Jena would do if the war got in the way.

Alicia Rice and Nona Dobbs wandered in. Alicia was a Methodist. Nona was Baptist. They were not just interested in missions but in going themselves. That was something that had never even occurred to Katharina. Part of up-time missions had been Bible translation, so here they were. It was hard for Katharina to tell how realistic their plans were. She sometimes thought that their idea of taking the Gospel to the Native Americans was romanticized to the point of impracticability. On the other hand, Dr. Green’s books indicated that stranger things had happened in the other timeline.

“If everyone would take a moment to pray?” Dr. Green requested. They did so, silently. It was another compromise that the Bible society had arrived at. Green’s prayers alternated between long and boring and long and exciting enough to make the Catholic and Lutheran students uncomfortable.

“Is there any correspondence to report?” Dr. Green asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“Yes,” Magister Kircher spoke up. “We’re received a communication from Rome.”

Katharina sat up straight. This was unexpected.

Kircher continued. “Most of it dealt with other matters but there was a postscript acknowledging ‘the up-timers concern for the uncial manuscript of the Holy Scriptures known to them as Codex Vaticanus, B, and 02. We find the Gregory System fascinating. Please send a complete inventory of the Gregory manuscripts and their locations. The Father-General has promised assistance in tracking them down.'”

In spite of her own astonishment, Katharina noticed a number of reactions ranging from Horst’s look of triumph to Dr. Green’s firm “Well, that’s not going to happen” to an awestruck “Father-General Vitelleschi?” from one of the Catholic students.

“We must, of course, follow our vow of obedience,” Athanasius Kircher said mildly.

Katharina was devoutly thankful that Kircher was an even-tempered man. Obviously he had to follow his orders. Equally obviously, Dr. Green didn’t want any one group—Catholic or Protestant—controlling access to the biblical manuscripts or having exclusive knowledge of where to find them. Then she realized something.

“You have to do it, don’t you?” she asked Kircher.

“Yes. Of course.”

Katharina grinned. “Brilliantly done.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Athanasius Kircher protested.

“Sure you don’t.” Katharina was certain that American sarcasm was fully warranted. “The University of Jena really has no option now but to join us. It’s that or be left behind.”

“What do you mean?” Guenther asked quickly.

“The Catholic Church is going to get a list of manuscripts,” she explained. “If the Lutherans want one, too . . . “

“You arranged for that letter!” Markus accused Kircher.

“I’ve also received a letter. Two letters, actually,” Dr. Green stated. He slipped it in so smoothly that Katharina was convinced that he had probably aided and abetted Kircher’s stratagem. “The first may not be of interest to you. It’s from Moises Amyraut. You may have heard of him as Amyrald. He was the father of four-point Calvinism in the old time line—and this time line, too. He has some fascinating ideas about the two calls, the general and specific calls to salvation.”

Dr. Green caught himself before the BGS zoned out completely. He was getting better at that, Katharina noted.

“But I’ll save that for Sunday school,” Dr. Green said. “The other letter, the one you’re interested in, is from Archbishop Ussher.” Before anyone groaned he added, “He relayed information to us from Patrick Young.”

Katharina sat bolt upright. Patrick Young! The Royal Librarian of England! That meant . . .

“Patrick Young is studying Codex Alexandrinus, which was given to Charles I by Patriarch Cyril of Constantinople seven years ago. He specifically checked 1 Timothy 3:16 for us . . . .” Dr. Green read from the letter. “‘I have examined the First Letter to Timothy, chapter three, verse sixteen. The reading is theta sigma, which as you know is an abbreviation of Theos. I must confess I an intensely curious as to why you sought this reading of this particular manuscript, and I beg that you furnish an explanation at your earliest convenience. I have the honor to be, etc.'”

“Woo-hoo!” Katharina shouted.

Everyone in the room stared at her. Dr. Green and Magister Kircher were clearly amused.

****

Katharina watched her friend Marta approaching the table with her lunch tray, and she realized Marta looked distinctly unhappy. Marta dropped into a chair and before Katharina could ask what was wrong, she blurted, “Katharina, I can’t go to Jena.”

“Why not?” Katharina asked quickly.

“My parents say the BGS is not trusting God for protection.”

What? Last month they said it was too dangerous, so Dr. Green hired guards.”

“I know. But Father visited Brother Altmann last evening and came back saying we are not trusting God.”

“It’s not your fault, Marta,” Katharina reassured her. “Brother Altmann has always been the most cautious of the elders.” Then a thought struck her. “Does that mean Joseph can’t go either?”

Marta nodded unhappily then said, “Katharina, what are we going to do?”

Katharina thought. “We could ask Dr. Green to talk to your parents.”

Marta shook her head. “No, that’s part of the problem. Brother Altmann mistrusts Dr. Green, and my parents are very influenced by Brother Altmann.”

Katharina sighed.

****

Two days later, Alicia Rice interrupted Katharina in the hallway before school started. “Kat, I can’t go to Jena.”

“How come?”

“My mom thinks it’s dangerous.”

Katharina frowned. “Dangerous for down-time Anabaptists or Catholics, maybe. Dangerous for up-timers? Jena? Who would dare?”

“I know, I know! But Mom was talking to Reverend Mary Ellen, and they decided it could be dangerous. Mom worries a lot, with my brother Adam in the National Guard.”

“This is a lot less dangerous than the National Guard,” Katharina pointed out. “We might get street corner speakers criticizing sectarians and Catholics. But they might not even notice us.”

“Hey, it’s not my idea. I want to go to Jena.”

“I’m sorry, Alicia. I know you do.”

“I explained that the guards are really for you Anabaptists and for the Catholics because the BGS is going to a Lutheran town. Nobody in Jena is going to attack an up-timer. Especially at the University. The students pretty much are the CoC, right?”

Katharina nodded.

****

Katharina was quiet for the whole bus ride home. She dropped her books on the table and didn’t even make an attempt to start reading something before Mother decided there was enough time to work in the garden before dinner.

The hills weren’t really conducive to agriculture but there was enough room for a big vegetable garden. It followed the usual practice of two paths forming a cross in the middle but the land had been a hillside so Father and Georg had built a terrace on the uphill side of one of the walks. Mother was very . . . not proud, because Brethren weren’t supposed to be proud . . . but very pleased with the garden. The terrace meant that she—and Katharina—had an easier time reaching the plants on the upper level.

Before coming to Grantville, the Meisners had had little more than a kale yard. Now they had a proper garden. There was still a quarter of kale, but there was also a quarter of up-time lettuce and spinach. The third quarter was peas, up-time peas, and up-time string beans, and the fourth was everything else. They even had a border of herbs.

There were a lot of potatoes and onions further down the hill. Someone—Katharina wasn’t sure about the details—was paying a subsidy for potatoes that got used to grow more potatoes. The Freedom Arches was paying more but had agreed not to take more than a certain percentage. But they would happily take onions, too. The soil of the farm being what it was, potatoes and onions helped the Meisners get by.

Katharina thought things through while she pulled weeds. She had been counting on Joseph to do the talking for the Anabaptists in the BGS. He was one of the young Anabaptist men that Joe Jenkins thought might make a decent preacher some day. Horst and maybe Mattheus would speak for the Catholics, and probably both Markus and Guenther for the Lutherans. Her brother Georg was the only other Anabaptist boy in the BGS. Georg was involved mostly to humor her. Which meant she’d probably have to do the talking for the Anabaptists. Barbara wouldn’t want to. Speaking in public isn’t a problem for me, Katharina told herself a little firmly.

****

Several days later, Nona’s parents were talking with Alicia’s parents and the Bibelgesellschaft trip to Jena came up. By the end of the conversation, it was deemed to be too dangerous for Nona as well.

****

Finally the day arrived. Katharina was up before dawn, eager to be off to the University of Jena. Plus she got to the hot water before Georg did. She was showered, dressed, and halfway down the stairs to breakfast before she realized she’d heard no indication of Georg stirring.

“Hurry up, Georg!” she called. She thought she heard a “Mmrrff” in return.

“We’ll be late!”

She heard his voice through his bedroom door. “Kat, we can’t leave until everyone’s there at eight of the clock. Is it even dawn yet?”

“Yes. Well, almost.”

“Then it’s only five and a half of the clock. I’ll be down by six and a half.”

Katharina and Georg’s mother was already in the midst of cooking a big breakfast before they left. That wouldn’t have been possible when they’d first moved to Grantville, but electrical lines had reached the Mennonite and Anabaptist settlements in the hills last year. There had been some discussion over whether they should follow the precedent of the up-time Amish and not use electricity. But there had also been the counterexample of the Mennonites using complex water pumps. Katharina hadn’t cared about the technical details. What was important was the elders had accepted the power lines and hot water. Joe Jenkins’ statement that electricity wasn’t theology had clinched the matter, in Katharina’s opinion.

“Get up, Georg!” Mother ordered. “You need a good breakfast. You’ll need your strength.”

Katharina smothered a grin. Georg just needed to drive the wagon. He had no intention of speaking to the professors at the University of Jena. In fact, he was mostly just going along to keep an eye on her. She sighed. She was seventeen years old and was one of eight students going. Plus there were the two pastors. Plus Pastor Green had hired bodyguards, just for a trip to Jena. They could have gotten there quickly by train, but Mother felt that was too extravagant. The elders had agreed. If it was extravagant or comfortable, there was a good chance it was sinful. When reported back to the Bibelgesellschaft, this had caused Pastor Green to mutter about spirit/matter dualism. Katharina was fairly sure he’d been muttering about Plato being in for a warm afterlife, too. The Lutheran members of the Bibelgesellschaft had taken it in stride, however, and even assured Katharina that even up-timers tended to think like this, and that one of them had even told them about a man up-time who had made up stories about a town with both Lutherans and Catholics and gently poked fun at their tendency to equate fun and comfort with sin.

In addition to making Garrison Keillor something of a hero to the Bibelgesellschaft, the decision that the train was too extravagant had resulted in the elders suggesting a wagon. After all, they didn’t want the Bibelgesellschaft to walk to Jena as if they were refugees. That utterly contradicted their reasoning against the train, in Katharina’s opinion, but since the elders had decided to make one of the community wagons available, she had decided not to point that out.

Pastor Green had been delighted. He said that their bodyguards had horses and could ride along. And that they could all meet at Neustatter’s European Security Services. That way they wouldn’t be leaving from any of the churches, and couldn’t be accused of being under the thumb of any one denomination. Sometimes being non-denominational was a pain in the neck, Katharina reflected.

After Katharina and Georg had been fed more than was strictly necessary, Georg had hitched the horses to the wagon. Father and Mother had hugged them both and provided a litany of warnings. They’d promised to send a telegraph message home from Jena.

Georg stopped the wagon a little way down the road to pick up Barbara. There they received more warnings. But finally they were off. Georg was in no hurry, and neither were the horses. They heard church bells ring seven times as they skirted Grantville. Katharina fidgeted all the way. Finally Georg pulled up in front of Neustatter’s European Security Services.

Sure enough, Horst Felke was already there, Katharina noted, as was Dr. Green. By the time Georg had tied the near horse to a hitching post, and helped the girls down from the wagon, Magister Kircher was coming down the road. The Jesuit scholar was wearing his clerical robes and a backpack.

After a round of good mornings, Dr. Green nodded toward the door. Katharina followed Magister Kircher and Horst inside. The office was small, with a Franklin stove in the back, just like the one Father had put in at home. There were two men seated in chairs by the stove, and a young woman at a desk to the left of the door.

All three of them rose instantly. One of the men had a commanding presence, and Katharina guessed this must be Herr Neustatter. He was fairly tall for a down-timer with broad shoulders and the look of someone who spent a lot of time outdoors. He had scary eyes, Katharina decided, the kind that appeared to know everything. Plus he was wearing a gunbelt. It wasn’t the neat, official kind that the Polizei wore, either, but a rough leather belt that dipped down on one hip. The holster held an up-time pistol, nearly as large as down-time pistols.

Guten morgen, Magister Kircher, Magister Green.” He examined Horst and Katharina for a moment. “And Master Felke and Miss Meisnerin, if I’m not mistaken.” He shook hands with all of them. “I’m Edgar Neustatter. I will be commanding your escort today.”

He had a pronounced accent, Katharina noted. Bavarian, or perhaps Austrian.

“I don’t recall mentioning the names of any of the students,” Al Green commented.

“You didn’t,” Neustatter confirmed. He continued in German. “I am training my men in investigation. I sent one of my team leaders to Calvert High.” He gestured toward the blond young man next to him. “May I introduce Hjalmar Schaub? I assure you, he is older than he looks. Hjalmar has been in the field just as long as I have, since 1626.”

Herr Neustatter was definitely unsettling, Katharina decided. Not only had he referred to Calvert High the way the students did, but he had also clearly anticipated what Pastor Green was about to say. Hjalmar Schaub looked really young. And he’d been checking up on them. That was . . . disturbing. She stole a glance at Pastor Green. He seemed to feel the same way.

“I apologize for seeming to investigate you,” Neustatter said smoothly, “but sometimes my clients aren’t aware of something that affects their safety. As a security consultant, I dislike surprises.”

“Did we surprise you with any safety concerns?” Athanasius Kircher asked. The Jesuit scholar hadn’t blinked an eye at Neustatter’s explanation.

Neustatter gave them a wry grin. “I have learned more about church politics than I ever wanted to know. I understand enough to know that your BGS would like to find the most accurate Greek Bible so that you can make better translations.”

That was a remarkably succinct explanation, Katharina thought. It usually takes much longer than that to explain the BGS to a pastor. And where did he find out that we started calling the Bibelgesellschaft BGS among ourselves? Then she realized that as soon as Neustatter had gotten down to business, the Austrian accent had vanished.

Neustatter was still speaking. “I also understand that collaboration between people from several different churches alarms the more extreme members of all of those churches. Which is why you came to us, yes? Hjalmar, would you assemble your team out front?”

After he left, Neustatter indicated the woman at the desk. “May I introduce Miss Astrid Schäubin. Miss Meisnerin, you and Miss Kellarmännin will be her principals.”

Katharina shot Neustatter a surprised look and examined Miss Schäubin. Long, blonde hair was swept forward over one shoulder and curled inward perfectly at the ends. Her blouse was the latest Grantville fashion, a more or less up-time style made of heavier down-time fabric. She wore riding skorts and leather boots. And a gunbelt, although hers was the neat black polizei type. Katharina wasn’t sure what to think of her. She couldn’t help feeling dubious about a woman in what was essentially a mercenary company.

Neustatter was very perceptive. “She’s quite good.” He didn’t sound offended.

“I’m sorry, Miss Schäubin,” Katharina apologized. “I’ve never met a lady soldier before.”

Astrid surprised her in return. “I’ve never met a lady theologian before.”

Katharina smiled. “Fair enough. But that’s not really what I am.”

“Me, either,” Astrid noted. “As Herr Neustatter said, you and Miss Kellarmännin are my principals.”

“Does it bother the men?” Katharina asked before she could stop herself. “That you’re a bodyguard?”

“Sometimes. It worries my brother, and some of the men have their doubts.”

“Me, too. Being in the Bibelgesellschaft, I mean. Some people don’t take us seriously. Come meet Barbara. She’s outside.”

The two of them left, still comparing notes in being a woman in what was usually a man’s job.

Neustatter looked at Green and Kircher. “That worked out nicely.”

Once outside, Katharina saw that the rest of the Bibelgesellschaft members who were going to Jena had arrived.

“Barbara!” Astrid called. “This is Miss Astrid Schäubin. She is our bodyguard.”

“Miss Kellarmännin.”

Barbara giggled. “I’m not anyone important. Only teachers call me Fräulein. I’m Barbara.”

That was undoubtedly a good idea, Katharina thought. “And I’m Katharina.”

“Then you must call me Astrid.”

“I don’t think I’ve met anyone named Astrid before,” Barbara said.

“It’s Danish. My family settled in Holstein long ago. We lived there before the men went off to war.”

“Did you go with them?”

“No, after they first came to Grantville they came back and got their families. We all came to Grantville then.”

Katharina waited for the rest of the story, but evidently that was everything Astrid intended to say on the matter.

Hjalmar reappeared with two other men. One of them was a big man. He had a smile on his face, which was a good thing, Katharina thought, or else he would look really intimidating. The other man was . . . average in all respects. Katharina tried to study him carefully, because she thought she’d probably forget and mistake him for a passerby. Neustatter introduced them as Karl Recker and Otto Brenner respectively. Georg had loaded everyone’s luggage already, so they climbed aboard the wagon. Kircher and Green seated themselves on the bench next to Georg, while the students sat on the benches along the sides of the wagon. Katharina was right behind Georg with Barbara next to her and then Markus and Guenther. Johann and Mattheus were across from them on the right side.

So much for interdenominationalism, Katharina noted.

Neustatter and his team each had horses. Hjalmar and Neustatter rode ahead of the wagon while Karl, Otto, and Astrid brought up the rear. There was enough other traffic on the road that outriders would just get in the way.

Georg half-turned his head. “So what do you think of your bodyguard, Katharina?”

“She’s . . . interesting,” Katharina said quietly. “She’s the only woman who works for Neustatter. It’s kind of like being a girl in the Bibelgesellschaft, I think.”

“She is the team leader’s sister, yes?”

“Schaub, Schäubin,” Katharina pointed out. “Of course.”

“Some women have been following the up-time custom of taking their husband’s names,” Georg said mildly. “But since they have the same chin and jawline, I assumed they are brother and sister.”

Katharina got a sly look in her eye. “I didn’t realize her jawline was so interesting.”

“Facial recognition was part of the forensics class,” Georg said. “I like to keep in practice.”

Katharina sniffed. Georg had gotten bored during all the extra evenings she’d been working on Bibelgesellschaft matters and taken an elective. She was still thinking of a comeback when Georg warned, “Hold on. There’s a slope ahead at the Ring Wall.”

Katharina felt the wagon slow almost to a stop. “You don’t have to be quite so cautious, Georg,” she teased.

“It’s not that,” Georg said. “There are men blocking the road.”

Katharina looked past Georg and saw about a dozen men drawn up across the road to Jena. They were passing one wagon through while a couple others had pulled off to the side of the road.

“That’s . . . ” Pastor Green began.

“Yes, it is,” Father Kircher agreed.

Neustatter and Hjalmar had already turned their horses. Hjalmar spurred to a gallop as soon as he reached level ground. Neustatter’s horse ambled back to the wagon, giving every sign of being bored.

“It seems there will be a slight delay,” Neustatter drawled.

“Who are those men?” Horst demanded. “They have no right to block the road!”

“I believe I mentioned extreme factions in each of the churches,” Neustatter reminded him.

“But we’ve accounted for Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Baptist, and Anabaptist,” Green protested.

“Ah, but if I’m not mistaken, Master Fratscher and Master Kempf are from Pastor Kastenmeyer’s Lutherans. The men in the road are from Pastor Holz’s Lutheran church. That is the church my men and I belong to as well.”

Katharina’s heart sank. Pastor Pancratz Holz was just as much a bigot as Ferdinand of Austria or Maximilian of Bavaria. If their bodyguards were part of his congregation, there was no way they’d reach Jena.

“Did you know about this, Neustatter?” Al Green demanded.

“I had my suspicions,” Neustatter acknowledged. “I suspect that Pastor Holz assumes he can block the road because the place he is doing it is outside West Virginia County. It is outside Chief Richards’ jurisdiction.”

“It seems Holz has outthought us,” Kircher said.

“Not entirely,” Neustatter said. “I sent Hjalmar to find an SoTF Marshal. This is within the marshals’ jurisdiction.”

Katharina’s jaw dropped.

Neustatter noticed, of course. “Don’t worry, Miss Meisnerin,” he said. “I’ll get you to Jena.”

“I suppose we ought to see what they want,” Pastor Green said. “Georg, keep hold of the reins.”

Kircher climbed down from the wagon to let Green out. Some of the men in the road started shouting at them as soon as they realized Kircher was wearing his clerical robes.

Neustatter turned to one of his men. “Karl!” The two of them spurred forward on either side of Green and Kircher.

“If you gentlemen are almost done with the road, we’d like to pass through to Jena,” Green said mildly.

“You heretics will not be going to Jena.”

“Why is that?” Neustatter demanded.

“Because they are heretics, Herr Neustatter,” Pastor Pancratz Holz explained. “They want to change the Bible.”

“What I gather, Pastor,” Neustatter drawled, “is they’re wanting the University of Jena’s help in finding old Bibles.”

“They’re trying to change the Scripture! I’ve read their books. They questioned everything about the Bible uptime!”

“No, we’re not!” Al Green burst out. “I’m no liberal! And I’m not a higher critic, either.” He proceeded to call the wrath of God down on a couple individuals named Graf and Wellhausen and then loudly pointed out that the Bibelgesellschaft had freedom of assembly, and if they wanted to assemble in Jena, they would, thank you very much. Pastor Pancratz Holz retorted that his congregation also had freedom of assembly, and if they wanted to assemble on the road to Jena, they would, thank you very much.

Back at the wagon, Katharina asked, “What’s happening?”

“The Lutheran pastor is shouting,” Georg reported. “And Pastor Green is shouting back. And they all look confused and angry.” He sighed. “And now the Lutherans are shouting again.”

Katharina saw the first projectile. She expected Pastor Green and Magister Kircher to run for it.

Instead, Neustatter’s horse plunged into the group of men, who scattered in all directions. Neustatter wheeled the horse around and pursued a couple who hadn’t scrambled quite far enough for his liking. The other guard circled in the opposite direction, forcing the men on the left away from the road.

“Take the wagon forward!” Astrid shouted to Georg.

Georg looked at her, looked at the disturbance ahead, looked back at Astrid, and flicked the reins.

“Is it safe?” Katharina asked.

Astrid brought her horse alongside the wagon. “I’ll watch this side. Otto will watch the other side. Keep moving.”

Georg looked rather startled but complied. When he reached Kircher and Green, he slowed not quite to a complete stop, and the two clerics scrambled onto the wagon.

“Holz is rallying his men,” Kircher pointed out.

Sure enough, the mob was coming back together further down the road, minus a handful of men whom Neustatter and Karl had driven far to the side of the road. Neustatter turned back toward the road and nudged his horse to a canter. A couple seconds later, Karl did the same.

****

Astrid Schäubin wished her pastor weren’t trying to forcibly prevent her clients from traveling to Jena. Pastor Holz did have a point—their clients were mostly heretics, Catholics and Anabaptists. On the other hand, their clients had a point, too—they were bound for a Lutheran university to present their case as to why denominations that disagreed with each other should work together to examine and preserve ancient copies of the Scriptures.

One man pitched a stone at Neustatter as her boss cantered toward the men in the road. It went wide. Neustatter kept coming. Astrid saw the men edging backwards, and then they broke. Neustatter and Karl scattered them again.

Georg kept the wagon rumbling steadily forward. Holz was determined, but he and his men had to run to keep pace with the wagon. Neustatter and Karl were able to keep them away from the wagon. They were growing more and more frustrated but fortunately there wasn’t much available to throw at the horsemen.

One man made a run at the wagon, and Neustatter wheeled his horse around to head him off. Twenty yards from the wagon he lashed out with a boot and sent the man sprawling. Neustatter gestured at Astrid to take it from there while he turned back toward Holz—just in time to find another man making a break toward the wagon. He stopped that one, too. The third one was on his way in when everyone heard a siren.

A Grantville Police Department cruiser rolled up behind the wagon. One officer got out but the driver stayed in the vehicle.

“This isn’t Grantville!” Holz shouted. “You have no jurisdiction here!”

The officer passed the wagon. “Brother Green. Father Kircher.”

“He’s not Grantville police,” Georg observed.

“That’s Marshal Thomas. The marshals work throughout Thuringia-Franconia,” Astrid answered.

Up ahead, Marshal Harley Thomas was explaining that fact to Pancratz Holz.

“You cannot give orders here! This is Schwarzburg!”

“And I’m a SoTF marshal. We have jurisdiction throughout the entire state. Pastor Holz, it’s illegal to interfere with other people’s right to assemble peaceably.”

“But it won’t be peaceably! They’re going to Jena to try to destroy the Scriptures!”

Harley Thomas sighed. It looked like it could be a long morning.

“There’s only one of you.”

The marshal stepped up in Holz’s face. “Yeah. But it looks like you only brought one riot with you, Holz. So get out of the way. Now.”

The situation wasn’t improved by Neustatter laughing out loud at that point. But Holz very grudgingly got his men out of the road.

They did make a few threats as the wagon rolled by.

“Any Lutheran who consorts with you heretics is risking excommunication!”

Green looked over his shoulder and said, “I’ll be sure to warn Johann Gerhard.”

Katharina surveyed the party. Markus and Guenther were on edge. Astrid seemed a bit upset, too. Well, that made sense. They were all Lutheran. Holz could make trouble for them. So was Neustatter, although he didn’t seem to care. He was enthusiastically shaking hands with the marshal. Then he beckoned Astrid’s brother Hjalmar and waved the wagon on. Katharina looked around and saw Karl riding ahead and Otto on the other side of the wagon. They didn’t seem worried, either, but she didn’t know them well enough to really tell.

About ten minutes later, Neustatter rode up beside Astrid. Katharina strained to hear their conversation.

“Miss Schäubin, I’ve sent Hjalmar back to Grantville to talk to the other men and their families. And to keep an eye on Pastor Holz. I know he wanted be along on your second mission, but someone needs to brief Ditmar’s team. The men won’t care. We all had to pretend to be Catholics in Wallenstein’s army. But Stefan and Wolfram’s families have been Lutherans all their lives.”

“We could all just go to St. Martin’s in the Fields,” Astrid pointed out. “It’s Philippist but it would do until the new Flacian church on the Badenburg Road opens.”

Katharina eyed the two Lutheran members of the Bibelgesellschaft. They were both obviously listening, too. Markus looked very satisfied, Guenther less so.

“Excuse me,” she ventured. “I haven’t studied much about the Flacian-Philippist dispute, but you obviously have strong feelings about it.”

Neustatter shrugged. “Flacians follow Luther more closely. It pi . . . annoys the Catholics more. Uh, begging your pardon, Father Kircher.”

“Our pastor in Holstein was Flacian,” Astrid added.

“And our pastor in Holstein was Flacian,” Neustatter agreed.

Astrid knew what she ought to say. She opened her mouth and . . . nothing happened. She tried again. “Um . . . “

“Yes, of course,” Neustatter agreed. “If Miss Schäubin and the others want to go somewhere else or all go to different churches, that’s quite all right. Well, no, it probably isn’t, but they’re allowed to. Miss Meisnerin.” He touched the brim of his hat and rode off to join Karl in front of the wagon.

After Astrid had recovered, she ventured, “Does he do that often?”

“Read your mind?” Astrid asked. “Yes.”

“Doesn’t that bother you?”

“I’m the secretary. It’s quite helpful, actually.”

****

The rest of the journey to Jena was uneventful. They hired rooms at an inn and then walked to the university where they were met by the superintendent Dr. Johann Major. Neustatter and his team stood back while Dr. Green made the introductions.

“I’m pleased to meet you, Dr. Green. I really should have seen to that before now. Master Kircher.”

Major was accompanied by a couple students, Hans and Christoph, and within a few minutes, he had neatly split off Green and Kircher to go meet a colleague. Neustatter fell in behind them.

Katharina was hoping that Markus, Guenther, Mattheus, Johann, and Georg would lapse into theological shoptalk with the two students. But she found to her surprise that she, Barbara, and Astrid were the center of attention.

“Are you from St. Martin’s?”

“No.” It would have been amusing but Katharina was suddenly rather concerned about being an Anabaptist in Jena.

“Flacian, then.”

“No.”

“Then?”

“You know the Bibelgesellschaft contains students from several denominations?”

“Yes.”

“I’m Anabaptist.”

Christoph deflated. Hans turned to Barbara. “And you?”

“Anabaptist.”

He looked to Astrid. “And you are?”

“Armed.” She patted her holster.

“You are . . . you are . . . ” Christoph stammered.

“A mercenary,” Hans finished.

“I work for Neustatter’s European Security Services. So does Karl over there.”

Heads swiveled. “Well, yes, obviously,” Christoph agreed. “But bodyguards? Here?”

“There was an anti-Catholic riot here last year,” Astrid reminded them. “Go ahead. I’ll watch the flank.”

They got the grand tour of the University of Jena, ending up at a display of books.

Alchemia?” Georg asked.

“By Andreas Libavius. He was a student here in the arts and medical curricula,” Christoph explained. “He died in 1616. But it’s the first systematic chemistry book. These are all books by university faculty or students.”

Katharina glanced over the titles. Methodus tractandarum controversiarum theologicarum.

“That’s one of Dr Himmel’s books. And Passionale Academicum, right next to it.”

There was one in English. Sixe Bookes of Politickes or Civil Doctrine, Done into English by William Jones.

“Oh, Justus Lipsius was a professor here for a while. He converted from Catholicism. Then when he got hired at Leiden he converted to Calvinism. They say he was really a Stoic all along. But a lot of influential men speak well of these books—Richelieu, Olivares, Maximilian.”

“Perhaps those aren’t the best possible endorsements,” Guenther remarked.

“And these?” Katharina asked.

Loci communies theologici and Meditationes sacrae are Dr. Gerhard’s books,” Markus answered. “Some of us are Lutheran.”

“And this is a draft of the first section of Confessio Catholica,” Christoph announced proudly. “Dr. Gerhard is demonstrating the catholicness of the Augsburg Confession from Catholic sources.”

“Oh, please,” Johann Speiss protested. Mattheus just rolled his eyes.

“A draft?” Katharina put in quickly.

“Yes. He has just started it. It probably won’t be published for a few years. The book display is to show some visiting students. They’re here from Latin schools and from some other universities. It’s some sort of up-time idea. They call it ‘recruiting.’ As if a university were an army.”

As if on cue, a number of other students entered the hall. Introductions were made all around, and shoptalk broke out. Katharina edged back out of the crowd and tried to locate Barbara but found herself talking to a student from the University of Erfurt.

They shook hands. “Johannes Musaeus.”

“Katharina Meisnerin.”

“You are . . . “

“Not a student here, no. I’m with the Bibelgesellschaft in Grantville . . . “

After the tour, they rejoined Kircher and Green. They had a couple hours on their own before a formal dinner with the theology faculty. Katharina was sure she would never be able to keep all the names straight, but she made sure she knew who the three Johannes were: Johannes Gerhard, considered the number three Lutheran theologian ever, after Luther and Chemnitz; Johannes Major, the superintendent who had welcomed them; and Johannes Himmel, who had written a couple of the books on the display table. Katharina had him pegged as the strictest of the three. Blessedly she didn’t have to do anything but make occasional conversation and eat.

After the dinner, the BGS went back to the inn. Neustatter and his team fell in around them as they left the building.

“You didn’t get to eat!” Katharina realized.

“We’ll eat at the inn,” Astrid said.

“That’s not fair.”

“I would rather be able to just eat than worry about etiquette and professors. What did you have?”

Katharina recited high-class but quite traditional fare.

Astrid smiled. “The main reasons we picked this inn are because we trust the innkeeper, and it is safe. It also has a well-deserved reputation for cheap food. But that’s okay—I like stew and fries.”

When they reached the inn, most of the BGS elected to stay up for a while. Neustatter pulled Astrid aside.

“Miss Schäubin, you and Otto go ahead and eat.”

“But you . . . “

“Will eat later. You’ve got first watch.”

Astrid discovered that being on watch was boring. After an hour, she upgraded that to really boring. Finally a door swung open and Neustatter ambled out, looking ridiculously chipper.

Guten morgen, Miss Schäubin.” His eyes twinkled. “Get some sleep.”

****

The BGS met the University of Jena theology faculty mid-morning in a large room. Hans told them it was used for disputations and really large lectures. The BGS students looked around nervously as various U Jena students filtered in. Athanasius Kircher didn’t seem the least bit uncomfortable, Katharina noted. He just shrugged off his backpack and started methodically arranged everything he thought he might need. Dr. Green was doing much the same thing.

“This looks like one of those new-fangled tiered lecture halls,” he muttered to Katharina. “Minus all the computers and AV, of course. No matter—we have everything we need.”

Once everyone was settled, Johann Gerhard gestured to Albert Green. “Doctor, would you care to begin?”

“Thank you, Dr. Gerhard. We all want to know what the original text of the Holy Scriptures is. As printed editions become more common and more numerous, it has become apparent that there are a great many differences between manuscripts. By AD 2000 up-time, significant progress has been made in categorizing these differences into manuscript families. Some of that information came through the Ring of Fire with us, but much of it will have to be recreated.

“We all know we disagree on a number of theological issues. Dr. Gerhard, you have one set of beliefs. Pastor Kastenmeyer has another. Father Kircher here has yet another. And I have a fourth. What we found up-time was that when it came to correctly assessing what the original biblical text is, these differences largely didn’t matter. Yes, occasionally, we are going to find textual variations that favor your position over mine or mine over yours. But our differences are almost all caused by two other reasons: first, differences in interpretation rather than differences in text and second, whether we regard Church traditions as authoritative or only Scripture as authoritative. Or as Brother Chalker and his new converts believe, Scripture and new tradition, which they believe to be an ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. I happen to disagree with them but I raise the issue to point out differences with the Pentecostals are also a matter of authority and interpretation.”

“If I may, Dr. Green?” The question came from Dr. Johannes Himmel. Green nodded. “If our differences are matters of authority and interpretation, why make the effort to reconstruct the original text?”

Al Green paused for a second, then said. “For me, textual criticism is a means of confirming the inerrancy of the Bible and a tool for apologetics. Uh, that is a tool for defending the faith. I’m sorry, I don’t remember if the term ‘apologetics’ was, uh, is used in this time period or not.”

“From what we have read in your encyclopediae, your up-time denominations struggled with secularism,” Himmel observed.

“Yes,” Green agreed.

“Do you expect the same struggle in this world?” Himmel asked. Katharina noted that he and all the Jena professors were watching Green very closely.

“Yes,” Green answered again. “First, because we brought secular ideas with us through the Ring of Fire. Second, because I really can’t conceive of a future where we don’t have to struggle against secularism. Which is weird since I know it’s going to be different than up-time.”

“Can you give us an example of how collecting and classifying biblical texts will help against secularism?”

“Certainly. Up-time in the late 1800s and 1900s there were people who asserted that the Gospels weren’t written until a couple hundred years AD.”

“That’s preposterous!”

“Obviously. But it was largely a matter of faith until certain papyri manuscripts were analyzed. The Bodmer papyrus that we called P66 has the text of the Gospels—Luke and John anyway—and was written about AD 150.”

“I take it that no one in your time thought the original documents survived. Or even the first set of copies,” Johann Gerhard said slowly. “So then they would have acknowledged that the Gospels were written in the first century. Or several copies before AD 150.”

He figured that out right quick, Katharina reflected. Of course, he is the top Lutheran theologian alive today.

“If they’re willing to accept evidence at all,” Gerhard added. “I have noticed that once one has staked his reputation on something, one becomes surprisingly inured to arguments that would be readily convincing to another.”

Green chuckled. “Yes. We all claim that it is only others who attempt to remake reality as they would have it.”

“So in the end it is still a matter of faith,” Gerhard finished.

“Has to be.”

Katharina watched Dr. Gerhard nod slowly, like her father did when he had considered and decided on a course of action.

“So studying the biblical manuscripts will likely result in some proof texts,” Dr. Himmel summarized. “But why should we join with you to do this?”

“We will get more done, faster, if we work together.”

“I don’t think we should work with sectarians and Anabaptists.”

Katharina tensed. They were expecting this, though, and had decided how to handle it.

Al Green grinned. “You don’t think we’re saved. Well, fair enough. I’m not entirely convinced about you all, either.”

There were gasps throughout the room, and a couple people sprayed their drinks.

Green’s eyes twinkled. “I think we both have concerns about our brother Athanasius here. And he about us, no doubt. As for me, I’m more than a little concerned that seventeenth-century Lutheranism seems to value adherence to a body of doctrine more than adherence to Christ. And I can only assume that you in turn are quite concerned that I’m not under any ecclesiastical authority outside of my own church’s board of elders.”

Katharina briefly wondered if they were going to lose Dr. Himmel to apoplexy. But Dr. Green seemed to have gauged Dr. Gerhard just right.

“That is, indeed, chief among my concerns,” Gerhard answered.

He’s actually just a little bit amused, Katharina realized. Her eyes cut sideways. And Magister Kircher is struggling to keep a straight face.

Dr. Johannes Major spoke up for the first time. “Doctrinal differences would seem to be a good reason for each of us to pursue our own studies.”

Al Green sat down. “Horst?”

Horst stood up and confidently faced the three Johannes. “There is a danger in each of us going his own way. Once it becomes known that we all value manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures, they could become one more prize to fight over in this war. The Calvinists in Basel hold Codex Bezae, which I freely admit is a manuscript that has some readings that appeal to me as a Catholic.

“Suppose I wished to consult Codex Bezae before publishing an edition. The Calvinists may or may not grant me access—especially if they had reason to suspect that I might find readings that supported teachings of the Catholic Church. Or suppose that you reverend doctors came to believe that manuscript B is the most accurate. Since this codex is housed in the Vatican Library, would it not be a temptation for us Catholics to impede a purely Lutheran effort? Let us argue theology and attempt to convert one another in our free time, but let us work together on the text for the benefit of all.”

Good job, Horst, Katharina thought.

“A bold request, young man,” Dr. Major said. “How was it done in the other world, the up-time?”

Green gestured towards her. “Katharina.”

Katharina rose and addressed the faculty. Dr. Himmel’s face was pinched. Dr. Major was a little startled. She concentrated on Dr. Gerhard.

“Up-time a very large majority of textual scholars favored a group of manuscripts called the Alexandrian text or the Critical text. Eberhard Nestle published an edition in 1897, and it went through many revisions. Kurt and Barbara Aland were the primary editors in the late 1900s, and it was known as the Nestle-Aland edition.” She picked up a small blue volume from the desk. “There is one twenty-fifth edition, four twenty-sixth editions, and one twenty-seventh edition in Grantville. The other members of the editorial board were Johannes Karavidopoulos whom we believe was Orthodox, Carlo Martini who we believe was Catholic, and Bruce Metzger who was probably Presbyterian. The United Bible Society used the same basic text, and there are two copies of their third edition in Grantville.” Katharina held up a red volume.

“There was a smaller group of scholars who favored a group of manuscripts called the Byzantine Text or Majority Text because most manuscripts were classified in this group. All of our printed editions in our world are Byzantine, including the Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus’ edition, Stephanus’s editions, and the one the Elzevir brothers published last year. They used the phrase textus receptus which up-time became synonymous with a particular strand of the Byzantine text. There are two Majority Texts in Grantville. This is one of them. Hodges and Farstad.” This volume was white with a stylized Bible on the front. “The other, Robinson and Pierpont, exists only on Dr. Green’s computer.”

Katharina smiled. “Horst is Catholic. I am Anabaptist. When we discuss the text, sometimes, that matters. More often we disagree because Horst favors the Alexandrian text, and I favor the Byzantine text.”

Dr. Himmel spoke up. “Fräulein, what role would you and the other young women have in this enterprise?”

Katharina took a deep breath. “Dr. Himmel, we have no intention of preaching. In Romans 16:1, Paul mentions Phoebe. She probably delivered the Epistle to the Romans for him. Let us help deliver the manuscripts.” Katharina held her breath.

“If we were to join the Bibelgesellschaft, what needs to be done?” Gerhard asked.

Katharina exhaled slowly. That question was a really positive sign.

“Markus?” Dr. Green prompted. They were counting on the Lutherans in the BGS to clinch the deal.

“Manuscripts need to be identified and their variant readings catalogued. This had not been completed up-time, and we just don’t have most of their records. It is likely that we won’t be able to positively match some manuscripts with their up-time designations, so a new numbering system will be needed. And most of all, we need patience. Instead of using strong chemicals on Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus like they did up-time, we should wait until the technology exists to read it safely. There are other manuscripts which could be in danger if their locations become widely known. Examining others will require delicate negotiations. Ideally, whomever we send should speak for as large a part of Christianity as possible. Guenther?”

Guenther quickly took Markus’s place. “While we welcome all those interested in preserving the Scriptures, there are some people we would really like to be involved. We believe that the University of Jena has the prestige to approach these men.

“Patrick Young, the Royal Librarian of England. Already he has examined Codex Alexandrinus for us and cleared up a reading that was disputed up-time.

“Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir. Katharina mentioned the Greek text they published last year. And we will eventually need a publisher.

“Father Gavril, the Orthodox priest in Grantville. We will need full cooperation with the Orthodox.

“The heads of two monasteries: The Lavra on Mount Athos in Greece and St. Catherine’s in Sinai.

“And we’re going to need Calvinists involved, too.”

“The duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel. Actually, we’re not sure which duke. But one of the dukes of Wolfenbuttel this century has—will—would have collected a huge library including biblical manuscripts.

“Hugo Grotius.”

“You dream large,” Gerhard noted. “Still, that may be easier than you think.”

“Moises Amyraut.”

“He’s being tried for heresy, isn’t he?”

“He was acquitted up-time,” Dr. Green spoke up. “Even though they stacked the jury against him. And this time he has up-time Reformed writings to help. I saw to it.”

Guenther resumed his list. “A man named Seidel would have brought manuscripts from the east sometime this century. We have no further information. We don’t even know if he is alive.”

“It would probably be good if the other Lutheran universities were involved as well,” Guenther concluded.

“That could also be delicate,” Dr. Gerhard observed. “I think we would like to confer. If you would excuse us?”

“Of course.”

Dr. Green nodded to the Bibelgesellschaft, and they began gathering their things. Johannes Musaeus joined them, as he was also not a student at the University of Jena.

Once outside, Johannes spoke up. “That was a good presentation. I was not sure what to expect, but now I hope the faculty works with you.”

“Thank you.”

“If they accept, I definitely need to attend here. If you’ll have me, I’d like to join your Bibelgesellschaft.”

“Welcome aboard.” Markus was the first to shake his hand. “We can always use more Lutherans. Flacian, I assume?”

“Yes. Definitely.”

They settled down into shop talk. After about an hour, Katharina got up and started pacing. She was distracting herself with how many paces long the building was when Georg joined her.

“Relax, Kat.”

“I can’t. What if they don’t want to work with us?”

“I think they will.”

The morning dragged on. Katharina paced and prayed. Some of the others had started discussing sending a delegation for food when the door finally opened. Dr. Gerhard came out. The Bibelgesellschaft converged.

“One question, please,” Gerhard asked. “Magister Kircher, you did not say anything.” The Lutheran theologian studied the Catholic theologian for several seconds. “Rome wants information on the manuscripts, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Have you been ordered to send it?”

“Yes. Dr. Gerhard, I would much prefer not to race you to the manuscripts. Rome wants the information. I have no directives concerning anyone else having the information as well.”

“But we would have to work with Catholics.”

“And I would have to work with Lutherans.” Kircher grinned. “I am willing to make that sacrifice. But I would very much like to study some Sahidic manuscripts.”

Katharina held her breath.

“Magister Kircher,” Gerhard said, “I think I would also prefer not to race you to the manuscripts. I might not get as many as I’d like.” He glanced at Dr. Green. “You two have made this work so far?”

“Well, we’re both pretty busy,” Dr. Green answered. “It mostly works because the students make it work.”

Dr. Gerhard smiled. “I expect that will continue. Very well, ladies and gentlemen, the University of Jena theology faculty will join the Bibelgesellschaft.”

The students erupted in cheers. Katharina hugged Georg and then sought out Horst and extended her hand. Horst had a big grin on his face as they shook hands.

She could just barely hear Dr. Gerhard. “If all of you would come back inside?” He waved Kircher and Green through the door. “We’re going to need some Calvinists. I think we should start with the University of Basel . . . “

****