Today in Luther’s Life- With A Note on the Best Method of Lecture Preparation

On October 22, 1512, the new doctor [Luther] was with appropriate ceremony received as a colleague by the faculty senate and apparently immediately began his preparations for lectures on the Psalms. These preparations included providing the Latin text of the Vulgate for the convenience of the students.

Accordingly, Luther contracted with Johann Grunenberg to print, in a special edition with wide margins and generous interlinear spaces, the Latin text of the Psalter together with appropriate headings and short summaries of the contents of the individual psalms. Into the white space of one of these printed copies Luther then wrote his own interlinear and marginal notes, copied perhaps from slips of paper used during his preparation.

These notes are the so-called glosses—brief explanations, mostly of a grammatical and philological nature, of individual words and phrases of the Biblical text. The students were expected to enter into their own, identical copies of the Psalter what Luther dictated from his. This was the normal way to begin such lectures.*

Might I say, printing up wide margin, double spaced pages of Scripture is such a sensible way to prepare lecture notes that it is the procedure I have always followed myself.  Of course students needn’t write down the notes I share… if they wish to fail.

In all seriousness- there’s just no better method that I’ve discovered for lecture prep.  Here are the notes for a bit of Ephesians from last Wednesday:


*Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 10: First Lectures on the Psalms I: Psalms 1-75 (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 10, electronic ed.; Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), ix.