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The Luther Bible (german: Lutherbibel) is a
German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultu ...

German language
Bible translation The Bible has been translation, translated into Bible translations by language, many languages from the biblical languages of Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Aramaic and Koine Greek, Greek. the full Bible has been translated into ...
from Hebrew and ancient Greek by
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
. The
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
was first published in September 1522 and the complete
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
, containing the
Old Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya (county), Baranya county, Hungary. Populated places in Baranya County {{Baranya-geo-stub ..., Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire Old (previously Wold and befor ...
and New Testaments with
Apocrypha Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews fro ...
, in 1534. Luther continued to make improvements to the text until 1545. It was the first full translation of the Bible into German which referenced the original Hebrew and Greek texts and not only the Latin
Vulgate The Vulgate (; also called , ) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, ...
translation. However, according to the updated 2017 translation of the Luther Bible published by the
Evangelical Church in Germany The Evangelical Church in Germany (german: Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, abbreviated EKD) is a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from ...
noted that "Luther translated according to the Latin text." Luther did not speak Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic well enough and relied heavily on other scholars for assistance, namely philologists
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was a self-adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' was a schol ...

Erasmus
and
Melanchthon Philip Melanchthon. (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Ma ...
. The text basis of the New Testament was the Greek Translation recently published by the Dutch Catholic Humanist
Erasmus of Rotterdam Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name A Christian name, sometimes referred to as a baptismal name, is a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of design ...

Erasmus of Rotterdam
called the
Novum Instrumentum omne ''Novum Instrumentum omne'' was the first published New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It ...
. The project absorbed Luther's later years. Thanks to the then recently invented
printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an ink Ink is a gel, sol, or solution Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, Making a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in wate ...
, the result was widely disseminated and contributed significantly to the development of today's
modern High German language
modern High German language
.


Previous German translations

A number of
Bible translations into German German language translations of the Bible The Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and o ...
were produced prior to Luther's birth, both manuscript and printed. At least a dozen printed translations were published, starting around 1460, in various German dialects. However, they were translations from the Latin
Vulgate The Vulgate (; also called , ) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, ...
rather than the original Hebrew and Greek.


Luther's New Testament translation

While he was sequestered in the
Wartburg Castle The Wartburg () is a castle originally built in the Middle Ages. It is situated on a precipice of to the southwest of and overlooking the town of Eisenach, in the state of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free S ...

Wartburg Castle
(1521–22) Luther began to translate the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
from Greek into
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
in order to make it more accessible to all the people of the "
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
of the German nation." Known as the "September Bible", this translation only included the New Testament and was printed in September 1522. Luther translated from the Greek text, using
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was a self-adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' was a schol ...

Erasmus
' second edition (1519) of the Greek New Testament, known as the ''
Textus Receptus In Christianity, the term ''Textus Receptus'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...
''. Luther also published the Bible in the small
octavo Octavo, a Latin word meaning "in eighth" or "for the eighth time", (abbreviated 8vo, 8º, or In-8) is a technical term describing the format of a book, which refers to the size of leaves produced from folding a full sheet of paper on which multip ...
format. Like Erasmus, Luther had learned Greek at the Latin schools led by the
Brethren of the Common Life The Brethren of the Common Life (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through th ...
(Erasmus in
Deventer Deventer (; Sallaans Sallaans ( nl, Sallands) is a collective term for the Dutch Low Saxon dialects of the region Salland, in the eastern Netherlands. A common term used by native speakers for their dialect, which is also used by Low Saxon spea ...

Deventer
, the Netherlands; and Luther in
Magdeburg Magdeburg (; nds, label=Low German, Low Saxon, Meideborg ) is the capital and second-largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony-Anhalt, after Halle (Saale). It is situated on the Elbe River. Otto I, Holy Roman Emp ...

Magdeburg
, Germany). These lay brothers added Greek as a new subject to their curriculum in the late 15th century. At that time Greek was seldom taught even at universities. To help him in translating into contemporary German, Luther would make forays into nearby towns and markets to listen to people speaking. He wanted to ensure their comprehension by translating as closely as possible to their contemporary language usage. His translation was published in September 1522, six months after he had returned to
Wittenberg Wittenberg ( , ; Low Saxon Low Saxon or Lower Saxon may refer to: Geography *Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern ...
. In the opinion of the 19th-century theologian and church historian
Philip Schaff Philip Schaff (January 1, 1819 – October 20, 1893) was a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the ...

Philip Schaff
,


Publication of the complete Bible translation

The translation of the entire Bible into German was published in a six-part edition in 1534, a collaborative effort of Luther and many others such as
Johannes Bugenhagen Johannes Bugenhagen (24 June 1485 – 20 April 1558), also called ''Doctor Pomeranus'' by Martin Luther, introduced the Protestant Reformation in the Duchy of Pomerania and Denmark in the 16th century. Among his major accomplishments was organizat ...

Johannes Bugenhagen
,
Justus Jonas Justus Jonas, the Elder (5 June 1493 – 9 October 1555), or simply Justus Jonas, was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry ...

Justus Jonas
,
Caspar Creuziger Caspar Creuziger, also known as Caspar Cruciger the Elder (1 January 1504 – 16 November 1548), was a German Renaissance humanist Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity, at first Italian Renaissance, in Italy a ...

Caspar Creuziger
,
Philipp Melanchthon Philip Melanchthon. (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abraham ...
,
Matthäus Aurogallus , la, Comotavia, Comotovia, Comutovia, Chomutovia), (Prince-elector, Imperial-Electoral) Kingdom of Bohemia#After 1471: Jagiellonian and Habsburg rule, Royal Bohemia, Lands of the Bohemian Crown#Jagiellons, Bohemian Crownland (personal union#Bohem ...
, and Georg Rörer. Luther worked on refining the translation up to his death in 1546: he had worked on the edition that was printed that year. There were 117 original woodcuts included in the 1534 edition issued by the
Hans LufftHans Lufft (1495–1584) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * ...
press in Wittenberg. They reflected the recent trend (since 1522) of including artwork to reinforce the textual message. Luther's Bible was a bestseller in its time. About 200,000 copies in hundreds of reprinted editions appeared before Luther died in 1546. However, the book remained too expensive for most Lutherans; an unbound copy of the complete 1534 Bible cost the equivalent of a month's wages for the average laborer. Instead, the Bible was bought by churches, pastors, and schools.


Mistranslations and controversies

Luther added the word "alone" (''allein'' in German) to Romans 3:28 controversially so that it read: "So now we hold, that man is justified without the help of the works of the law, alone through faith" The word "alone" does not appear in the Greek texts, but Luther defended his translation by maintaining that the adverb "alone" was required both by idiomatic German and the apostle Paul's intended meaning according to his interpretation, and that ''sola'' was used in western theological tradition before him. Many Protestant scholars have noted the bias in Luther's translation, including Anglican apologist
Alister McGrath Alister Edgar McGrath (born 1953) is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian Intellectual history (also the history of ideas) is the study of the history of human thought and of intellectuals, people who conceptualize, disc ...

Alister McGrath
: According to the Evangelical Church in Germany (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland), Luther relied heavily on the Vulgate and not on the original Greek: "Luther translated according to the Latin text." The consensus of the Modern Lutheran church is that Luther overlapped his pre-existing Theology he personally developed onto the text, particularly on the book of Romans. The 2017 version has added footnotes on Romans 1:17; Romans 2:13, Romans 3:21, Romans 3:28 which warn about the deliberate mistranslations Luther committed. Karl-Heinz Göttert, a professor of Medieval Studies at the university of Köln, in reference to his book on Luther’s Bible titled "Luther's Bible - History of a Hostile Takeover" noted: Luther did not know ancient Greek well, and when he referenced the Greek New Testament, he relied on his friend Melanchthon and a number of other philologists. Significant changes correcting Luther’s translations were made in the 2017 version of the Luther Bible. Luther also added German legal terminology which is not found in the original text, for example “Denkzettel” in Matthew 23.5. There were also many understandable mistranslations due to a lack of knowledge, such as in Psalms 104 where he mistranslated
chamois The chamois (''Rupicapra rupicapra'') is a species of goat-antelope The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by En ...

chamois
to "rabbit" because he did not know what a chamois was.


View of canonicity

Initially Luther had a low view of the Old Testament book of
Esther Esther is described in all versions of the Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historica ...
and of the New Testament books of
Hebrews The terms ''Hebrews'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...

Hebrews
,
James James is a common English language surname and given name: * James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...
, Jude, and the Revelation of John. He called the Letter of James "an epistle of straw," finding little in it that pointed to Christ and His saving work. He also had harsh words for the Revelation of John, saying that he could "in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it." In his translation of the New Testament, Luther moved Hebrews and James out of the usual order, to join Jude and the Revelation at the end, and differentiated these from the other books which he considered "the true and certain chief books of the New Testament. The four which follow have from ancient times had a different reputation." His views on some of these books changed in later years, and became more positive. Luther chose to place the
Biblical apocrypha The biblical apocrypha (from the grc, ἀπόκρυφος, translit=apókruphos, lit=hidden) denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books thought to have been written some time between 200 BC and 400 AD. Some Christian churches include ...
between the Old and New Testaments. These books and addenda to
Biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of Religious text, texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word ''Canon (basic principle), canon'' comes from ...
of the Old Testament are found in the ancient Greek
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
but not in the Hebrew
Masoretic text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נוסח המסורה, Nusakh Ham'mas'sora) is the authoritative Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic languag ...
. Luther left the translating of them largely to
Philipp Melanchthon Philip Melanchthon. (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abraham ...
and
Justus Jonas Justus Jonas, the Elder (5 June 1493 – 9 October 1555), or simply Justus Jonas, was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry ...

Justus Jonas
.Martin Brecht, ''Martin Luther'', James L. Schaaf, trans., 3 vols., (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1985-1993), 3:98. They were not listed in the table of contents of his 1532 Old Testament, and in the 1534 Bible they were given the well-known title: "Apocrypha: These Books Are Not Held Equal to the Scriptures, but Are Useful and Good to Read". See also
Biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of Religious text, texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word ''Canon (basic principle), canon'' comes from ...
,
Development of the Christian Biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy b ...
, and
Biblical Apocrypha The biblical apocrypha (from the grc, ἀπόκρυφος, translit=apókruphos, lit=hidden) denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books thought to have been written some time between 200 BC and 400 AD. Some Christian churches include ...
.


Influence

The Luther Bible was not the first translation of the Bible into German. The previous German translation from 1350, printed by Johann Mentelin in 1466, was linguistically clumsy, partially incomprehensible, and translated exclusively from the
Vulgate The Vulgate (; also called , ) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, ...
. Luther's German Bible and its widespread circulation facilitated the emergence of a standard, modern
German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultu ...

German language
for the German-speaking people throughout the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, an empire extending through and beyond present-day Germany. It is also considered a landmark in
German literature German literature () comprises those literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Seman ...
, with Luther's vernacular style often praised by modern German sources for the forceful vigor (''"kraftvolles Deutsch"'') with which he translated the Holy Scripture. A large part of Luther's significance was his influence on the emergence of the German language and national identity. This stemmed predominantly from his translation of the Bible into the vernacular, which was potentially as revolutionary as canon law and the burning of the papal bull.
Carter Lindberg Carter Lindberg (born 1937) is an American historian. He is Professor Emeritus of Church history, Church History at Boston University School of Theology and is best known for his book ''The European Reformations''. Lindberg studied at Augustana Col ...
, The European Reformations (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1996), 91
Luther's goal was to equip every German-speaking Christian with the ability to hear the Word of God, and his completing his translation of the Old and New Testaments from Hebrew and Greek into the vernacular by 1534 was one of the most significant acts of the Reformation. Although Luther was not the first to attempt such a translation, his was superior to all its predecessors. Previous translations had contained poor German, and had been from the Vulgate Latin translation, i.e. translations of a translation rather than a direct translation into German from the originals. Luther sought to translate as closely to the original text as possible, but at the same time his translation was guided by how people spoke in the home, on the street, and in the marketplace. Luther's faithfulness to the language spoken by the common people was to produce a work which they could relate to. This led later German writers such as
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of G ...

Goethe
and
Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as thos ...

Nietzsche
to praise Luther's Bible.Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1996), 92 Moreover, the fact that the vernacular Bible was printed also enabled it to spread rapidly and be read by all.
Hans LufftHans Lufft (1495–1584) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * ...
, the Bible printer in Wittenberg, printed over one hundred thousand copies between 1534 and 1574, which went on to be read by millions. Luther's vernacular Bible was present in virtually every German-speaking Protestant's home, and there can be no doubts regarding the Biblical knowledge attained by the German common masses. Luther even had large-print Bibles made for those who had failing eyesight. German humanist Johann Cochlaeus complained that
Luther's New Testament was so much multiplied and spread by printers that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel, and could read a little German, studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth. Some committed it to memory, and carried it about in their bosom. In a few months such people deemed themselves so learned that they were not ashamed to dispute about faith and the gospel not only with Catholic laymen, but even with priests and monks and doctors of divinity."
The spread of Luther's Bible translation had implications for the German language. The German language had developed into so many dialects that German speakers from different regions could barely understand each other. This led Luther to conclude that “I have so far read no book or letter in which the German language is properly handled. Nobody seems to care sufficiently for it; and every preacher thinks he has a right to change it at pleasure and to invent new terms."Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), 12 Scholars preferred to write in the Latin which they all understood. Luther's Bible translation, based primarily on his native Saxon dialect and enriched with the vocabulary of German poets and chroniclers, led to a standardized German language. For this accomplishment, a contemporary of Luther's,
Erasmus Alberus Erasmus Alberus (c. 15005 May 1553) was a German humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a ...
, labeled him the German
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, as he reformed not only religion but the German language also. Luther's Bible has been hailed as the first German 'classic', comparable to the English
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an of the Christian for the , which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King . The include the 39 books of the , a ...

King James Version
of the Bible. German-speaking Protestant writers and poets such as Klopstock, Herder and Lessing owe stylistic qualities to Luther's vernacular Bible.Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), 13 Luther adapted words to the capacity of the German public and through the pervasiveness of his German Bible created and spread the modern German language. Luther's vernacular Bible also had a role in the creation of a German national identity. Because it penetrated every German-speaking Protestant home, the language of his translation became part of a German national heritage.Gerhard Ritter, Luther: His life and Work ( New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963), 216 Luther's program of exposure to the words of the Bible was extended into every sphere of daily life and work, illuminating moral considerations for Germans. It gradually became infused into the blood of the whole nation and occupied a permanent space in a German history. The popularity and influence of his translation gave Luther confidence to act as a spokesperson of a nation and as the leader of an anti-Roman movement throughout Germany. It made it possible for him to be a prophet of a new German national identity and helped form the spirit of a new epoch in German history. In a sense the vernacular Bible also empowered and liberated all Protestants who had access to it. The existence of the translation was a public affirmation of reform, such as might deprive any elite or priestly class of exclusive control over words, as well as over the word of God. Through the translation Luther was intending to make it easier for "simple people" to understand what he was teaching. In some major controversies of the time, even some evangelicals, let alone the commoners, did not understand the reasons for disagreement; and Luther wanted to help those who were confused to see that the disagreement between himself and the Roman Catholic Church was real and had significance. So translation of the Bible would allow the common people to become aware of the issues at hand and develop an informed opinion. The common individual would thus be given the right to have a mind, spirit and opinion, to exist not as an economic functionary but as subject to complex and conflicting aspirations and motives. In this sense, Luther's vernacular Bible acted as a force towards the liberation of the German people. The combination of Luther's social teachings and the vernacular Bible undoubtedly had a role in the slow emancipation of western European society from a long phase of clerical domination. Luther gave men a new vision of perhaps the exaltation of the human self. Luther's vernacular Bible broke the domination and unity of the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. He had claimed Holy Scripture to be the sole authority, and through his translation every individual would be able to abide by its authority, and might nullify his or her need for a monarchical pope. As Bishop Fisher put it, Luther's Bible had “stirred a mighty storm and tempest in the church” empowering the no longer clerically dominated public. Although not as significantly as on German linguistics, Luther's Bible also made a large impression on educational reform throughout Germany. Luther's goal of a readable, accurate translation of the Bible became a stimulus towards universal education, since everyone should be able to read in order to understand the Bible. Luther believed that mankind had fallen from grace and was ruled by selfishness, but had not lost moral consciousness: all were sinners and needed to be educated. Thus his vernacular Bible could become a means of establishing a form of law, order and morality which everyone could abide by, if all could read and understand it. The possibility of understanding the vernacular Bible allowed Luther to found a State Church and educate his followers into a law-abiding community. The Protestant states of Germany became educational states, which encouraged the spirit of teaching which was ultimately fueled by Luther's vernacular Bible. Finally, Luther's translated Bible also had international significance in the spread of Christianity. Luther's translation influenced the English translations by
William Tyndale William Tyndale (; sometimes spelled ''Tynsdale'', ''Tindall'', ''Tindill'', ''Tyndall''; – ) was an English scholar who became a leading figure in the Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , ...

William Tyndale
and
Myles Coverdale Myles Coverdale, first name also spelt Miles (1488 – 20 January 1569), was an English ecclesiastical reformer chiefly known as a Bible translator, preacher and, briefly, Bishop of Exeter (1551–1553). In 1535, Coverdale produced the first co ...

Myles Coverdale
who in turn inspired many other translations of the Bible such as the
Bishops' Bible The Bishops' Bible is an English Bible translations, translation of the Bible which was produced under the authority of the established Church of England in 1568. It was substantially revised in 1572, and the 1602 edition was prescribed as the base ...
of 1568, the
Douay–Rheims Bible The Douay–Rheims Bible (, ), also known as the Douay–Rheims Version, Rheims–Douai Bible or Douai Bible, and abbreviated as D–R, DRB, and DRV, is a translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Gr ...
of 1582–1609, and the
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an of the Christian for the , which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King . The include the 39 books of the , a ...

King James Version
of 1611. It also inspired translations as far as Scandinavia and the Netherlands. In a metaphor, it was Luther who 'broke the walls' of translation in western Europe and once such walls had fallen, the way was open to all, including some who were quite opposed to Luther's beliefs. Luther's Bible spread its influence for the remolding of Western European culture in the ferment of the sixteenth century. The worldwide implications of the translation far surpassed the expectations of even Luther himself.Gerhard Ritter, Luther: His life and Work ( New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963), 212


Excerpted examples


See also

* Elector Bible * German Bible translations *
Protestant Bible A Protestant Bible is a Christian Bible whose translation or revision was produced by Protestants. Such Bibles comprise 39 books of the Old Testament (according to the Development of the Hebrew Bible canon, Hebrew Bible canon, known especially to ...
* Permanent Exhibition ''Luther and the Bible'' at Lutherhaus Eisenach


References


Notes


Further reading

* Antliff, Mark. The Legacy of Martin Luther. Ottawa, McGill University Press, 1983 * Atkinson, James. Martin Luther and the Birth of Protestantism. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1968 * Bindseil, H.E. and Niemeyer, H.A. ''Dr. Martin Luther's Bibelübersetzung nach der letzten Original-Ausgabe, kritisch bearbeitet''. 7 vols. Halle, 1845–55. Walch, XXI. 310 sqq., and the Erl. Frkf. ed., vol. LXV. 102–123.] Fre
open access edition with new English translation
by Howard Jones for the
Taylor Institution The Taylor Institution (commonly known as the Taylorian) is the Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of Lon ...
br>Reformation Pamphlet Series
with an introduction by Henrike Lähnemann. * Bluhm, Heinz. ''Martin Luther: Creative Translator''. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1965. * Brecht, Martin. ''Martin Luther''. 3 Volumes. James L. Schaaf, trans. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985–1993. , , . * . * . * Gerrish, B.A. Reformers in Profile. Philadelphia: Fortpress Press, 1967 * Green, V.H.H. Luther and the Reformation. London: B.T. Batsford, 1964 * Grisar, Hartmann. Luther: Volume I. London: Luigi Cappadelta, 1914 * Lindberg, Carter. The European Reformations. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996 * Lyons, Martin. Books: A Living History. Thames and Hudson: 2011. * Reu,
ohn Ohn is a Burmese name Burmese names lack the serial structure of most modern names. The Bamars have no customary patronymic A patronymic, or patronym, is a component of a based on the of one's father, grandfather (avonymic), or an earlier ...
M chael ''Luther and the Scriptures''. Columbus, : The Wartburg Press, 1944. eprint: St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1980 * . * Ritter, Gerhard. Luther: His life and Work. New York: Harper & Row, 1963


External links


Luther Bible (1912 Edition)


in Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church. * *
Standard German Bible at World Bibles


{{Authority control 1522 books 1534 books 16th-century Christian texts Early printed Bibles Works by Martin Luther Bible translations into German
Christian terminology Words or phrases used to refer to concepts associated with Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings o ...
1534 in Christianity