Luther’s Bible Was Sent to the Printer on this Day in 1534…

And it was published the next day. The. Next. Day. Putting to shame all publishers today who take half a year to get a book printed.

Martin Luther started work on his famous translation of the Bible in 1521, and on August 6, 1534 permission to print was obtained from the Elector of Saxony. The first complete copy left the press of Hans Lufft at Wittenberg, the next day, August 7, 1534.

To be sure, prep work was done in the months leading up to the publication- but permission was granted one day and the volumes were out the next.  It’s astonishing what one can achieve when one has a herd of compulsive Germans on the job.

That said, it is a beautiful edition.  I have a facsimile of it and it’s just simply gorgeous.  I got it when it came out in 2011.  If you want to obtain one these days… the two volumes may be a bit harder to find.

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You Just Think you Know Luther

But you probably don’t.  For instance, do you know that when he preached he constantly mixed Latin and German together, never preaching in only one or the other but always in both- even when he preached for the citizens of the town?  Here’s a transcription of one of his sermons:

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If you weren’t well familiar with both languages, Luther’s sermons would have simply been incomprehensible nonsense.

Whatever You Do, Whoever You Are, Stop What You’re Doing And Get This While You Can

61408_10151330533940861_1199276423_nThe German Bible Society is offering a fantastically brilliant facsimile edition of Luther’s 1534 Bible for a very reasonable and spectacular price.  Through Christmas only.

Zu Weihnachten etwas ganz besonderes verschenken: Die hochwertige Faksimile-Ausgabe der Lutherbibel von 1534 nach dem handkolorierten Exemplar aus der Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar und das zu einem unschlagbaren Preis. So schön, dass man lieber selbst behalten will.  http://www.bibelonline.de/products/Advents-und-Weihnachtsgeschenke/Luther-Bibel-von-1534.html

I acquired this two volume edition years ago and allow me to say, it is just stunningly brilliant.  The prints are in color, as are the pages themselves, and you have in them a true work of art.

If you’re a student of the Bible, or a student of German, or a lover of 16th century Christian art, or just a person who has a friend who’s into these things, be sure to check it out.

The New Perspective on Paul: What was the Old Perspective?

Good work by Phillip. Very nice indeed.

The New Perspective on Paul: What was the Old Perspective?  Before examining the challenge of the new Perspective on Paul, it is important to have some understanding of what the traditional on Paul view is.  At the foundation of Sanders’ critique of the standard view of Paul is that Luther read Paul through the lens of his own struggle with sin and his battle with the Pelagian / semi-Pelagian Roman Catholic church which claimed one could earn merit before God by preforming good deeds. I will start with th … Read More

via Reading Acts

Luther: On the Turks (Read, Muslims)

Luther wasn’t a very politically correct person.  Even for his own day.  Indeed, he was brusque and said what he thought regardless of how people felt.  Who can help but admiring such a stalwart?  In what follows be sure to read ‘Muslims’ where you see ‘Turks’, as that’s what Luther meant.

News came from Torgau that the Turks had led out into the great square at Constantinople twenty-three Christian prisoners, who, on their refusing to apostatize, were beheaded. Dr. Luther said: Their blood will cry up to heaven against the Turks, as that of John Huss did against the papists. `Tis certain, tyranny and persecution will not avail to stifle the Word of Jesus Christ. It flourishes and grows in blood. Where one Christian is slaughtered, a host of others arise. `Tis not on our walls or our arquebusses I rely for resisting the Turk, but upon the Pater Noster. `Tis that will triumph. The Decalogue is not, of itself, sufficient. I said to the engineers at Wittenberg: Why strengthen your walls—they are trash; the walls with which a Christian should fortify himself are made, not of stone and mortar, but of prayer and faith.

The last sentence is so very true and still 500 years after Luther said it, we still lumber along as though he never had.  Buffoons.

And this certainly could be written today were it not for our reticence to see things as they are

The Turks pretend, despite the Holy Scriptures, that they are the chosen people of God, as descendants of Ishmael. They say that Ishmael was the true son of the promise, for that when Issac was about to be sacrificed, he fled from his father, and from the slaughter knife, and, meanwhile, Ishmael came and truly offered himself to be sacrificed, whence he became the child of the promise; as gross a lie as that of the papists concerning one kind in the sacrament. The Turks make a boast of being very religious, and treat all other nations as idolaters. They slanderously accuse the Christians of worshipping three gods. They swear by one only God, creator of heaven and earth, by his angels, by the four evangelists, and by the eighty heaven-descended prophets, of whom Mohammed is the greatest. They reject all images and pictures, and render homage to God alone. They pay the most honorable testimony to Jesus Christ, saying that he was a prophet of preeminent sanctity, born of the Virgin Mary, and an envoy from God, but that Mohammed succeeded him, and that while Mohammed sits, in heaven, on the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ is seated on his left. The Turks have retained many features of the law of Moses, but, inflated with the insolence of victory, they have adopted a new worship; for the glory of warlike triumphs is, in the opinion of the world, the greatest of all.

No matter how much things change, they remain the same.  There’s really nothing new under the sun.