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History of the Christian Church, Volume VII. Modern Christianity. The German Reformation.
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§ 17. The Luther Literature.


The Luther literature is immense and has received large additions since 1883. The richest collections are in the Royal Library at Berlin (including Dr. Knaake’s); in the public libraries of Dresden, Weimar, Wittenberg, Wolfenbüttel, München; in America, in the Theol. Seminary at Hartford (Congregationalist), which purchased the Beck collection of over 1,200 works, and in the Union Theol. Sem., New York, which has the oldest editions.

For the Luther literature comp. J. A. Fabricius: Centifolium Lutheranum, Hamburg, 1728 and 1730, 2 Parts; Vogel: Bibliotheca biographica Lutherana, Halle, 1851, 145 pages; John Edmands: Reading Notes on Luther, Philada., 1883; Beck (publisher): Bibliotheca Lutherana, Nördlingen, 1883; (185 pages, with titles of 1236 books, now at Hartford), 1884: Bibliographie der Luther-Literatur des J. 1883, Frankf. a. M. 1884, enlarged ed. 1887 (52 and 24 pages, incomplete).


luther’s works.


Oldest editions: Wittenberg, 12 German vols., 1539–’59, and 7 Latin, 1545–’58; Jena, 8 German and 4 Latin vols., 1555–’58, with 2 supplements by Aurifaber, 1564–’65; Altenburg, 10 vols., 1661–’64; Leipzig, 22 vols., 1729–’40, fol.—The three best editions are:

(1) The Halle edition by Johann Georg Walch, Halle, 1740–1750, in 24 vols., 4to. Republished with corrections and additions by Dr. Walther, Stöckhardt, Kähler, etc., Concordia College, St. Louis, 1880 sqq., 25 vols.

(2) The Erlangen-Frankfurt ed. by Plochmann, Irmischer, and Enders, etc., Erlangen, and Frankfurt a. M., 1827 sqq., 2d ed., 1862–1883, 101 vols. 8vo. (not yet finished). German writings, 67 vols.; Opera Latina, 25 vols.; Com. in Ep. and Gal., 3 vols.; Opera Latina varii argumenti ad reformationis Hist. pertinentia, 7 vols. The most important for our purpose are the Reformations-historische Schriften (9 vols., second ed., 1883–’85), and the Briefwechsel (of which the first vol. appeared in 1884; 6 vols. are promised).

(3) The Weimar edition (the fourth centennial memorial ed., patronized by the Emperor of Germany), by Drs. Knaake, Kawerau, Bertheau, and other Luther scholars, Weimar, 1883 sqq. This, when completed, will be the critical standard edition. It gives the works in chronological order and strict reproduction of the first prints, with the variations of later edd., even the antiquated and inconsistent spelling, which greatly embarrasses the reader not thoroughly familiar with German. The first volume contains Luther’s writings from 1512–1518; the second (1884), the writings from 1518–1519; vols. III. and IV. (1885–’6), the Commentaries on the Psalms; vol. VI. (1888), the continuation of the reformatory writings till 1520; several other vols. are in press.


I have usually indicated, from which of these three editions the quotations are made. The last was used most as far as it goes, and is quoted as the "Weimar ed."

The first collected ed. of Luther’s German works appeared in 1539 with a preface, in which he expresses a wish that all his books might be forgotten and perish, and the Bible read more instead. (See Erl. Frkf. ed. I., pp. 1–6.)

Selections of Luther’s Works by Pfizer (Frankf., 1837, sqq.); Zimmermann (Frankf., 1846 sq.); Otto von Gerlach (Berlin, 1848, 10 vols., containing the Reformatorische Schriften).

The Letters of Luther were separately edited by De Wette, Berlin, 1825, sqq., 5 vols.; vol. VI. by J. C. Seidemann, 1856 (716 pp., with an addition of Lutherbriefe, 1859); supplemented by C. A. H. Burkhardt, Leipz., 1866 (524 pp.); a revised ed. with comments by Dr. E. L. Enders (pastor at Oberrad near Frankfurt a. M.), 1884 sqq. (in the Erl. Frankf ed.). The first volume contains the letters from 1507 to March, 1519. For selection see C. Alfred Hase: Lutherbriefe in Auswahl und Uebersetzung, Leipzig, 1867 (420 pages). Th. Kolde: Analecta Lutherana, Briefe und Actenstücke zur Geschichte Luther’s. Gotha, 1883. Contains letters of Luther and to Luther, gathered with great industry from German and Swiss archives and libraries.


Additional Works of Luther:

The Table Talk of Luther is best edited by Aurifaber, 1566, etc. (reprinted in Walch’s ed. vol. xxii.); by Förstemann and Bindseil, Leipzig, 1844–’48, 4 vols. (the German Table Talk); by Bindseil: Martini Lutheri Colloquia, Latina, etc., Lemgoviae et Detmoldae, 1863–’66, 3 vols.; and in the Frankf. Erl. ed., vols. 57–62. Dr. Conr. Cordatus: Tagebuch über Dr. Luther geführt, 1537, first edited by Dr. Wrampelmeyer, Halle, 1885, 521 pages. Last and best edition by Hoppe, St. Louis, 1887 (vol. xxii. of Am. ed. of Walch).


Georg Buchwald: Andreas Poach’s handschriftl. Sammlung ungedruckter Predigten D. Martin Luthers aus den Jahren 1528 bis 1546. Aus dem Originale zum ersten Mal herausgegeben. Leipzig, 1884, to embrace 3 vols. (Only the first half of the first vol., published 1884, and the first half of the third vol., 1885; very few copies sold.) The MS. collection of Andreas Poach in the public library at Zwickau embraces nine volumes of Luther’s sermons from 1528–1546. They are based on stenographic reports of Diaconus Georg Rörer of Wittenberg (ordained by Luther 1525, d. at Halle, 1557), who took full Latin notes of Luther’s German sermons, retaining, however, in strange medley a number of German words and phrases.

P. Tschackert: Unbekannte Predigten u. Scholien Luthers, Berlin, 1888. MSS. of sermons from Oct. 23, 1519, to April 2, 1521, discovered in the University Library at Königsberg. They will be publ. in the Weimar edition.


II. Biographies of Luther :


(1) By contemporaries, who may be included in the sources.

Melanchthon wrote Vita Lutheri, a brief but weighty sketch, 1546, often reprinted, translated into German by Matthias Ritter, 1555, with Melanchthon’s account of Luther’s death to the students in the lecture room, the funeral orations of Bugenhagen and Cruciger (157 pages); a new transl. by Zimmermann, with preface by G. J. Planck, Göttingen, 1813; ed. of the original in Vitae quatuor Reformatorum., Lutheri a Melanchthone, Melanchthonis a Camerario, Zwinglii a Myconio, Calvini a Beza, prefaced by Neander, Berlin, 1841. Justus Jonas gives an account of Luther’s last sickness and death as an eye-witness, 1546. Mathesius (Luther’s pupil and friend, d. 1561) preached seventeen sermons on Luther’s life, first published 1565, and very often since, though mostly abridged, e.g., an illustrated popular ed. with preface by G. H. v. Schubert, Stuttgart, 1846; jubilee edition, St. Louis and Dresden, 1883. Joh. Cochlaeus, a Roman Cath. antagonist of Luther, wrote Commentaria de actis et scriptis Martini Lutheri Saxonis, chronographica, ex ordine ab anno Dom. 1517 usque ad annum 1546 (inclusive), fideliter conscripta. Mayence, 1549 fol.


(2) Later Biographies till 1875 (the best marked *) by

*Walch (in his ed. of L.’s Works, vol. XXIV. pp. 3–875); Keil (4 parts in 1 vol., Leipz., 1764); Schröckh (Leipz., 1778); Ukert (Gotha, 2 vols., 1817); Pfizer (Stuttgart, 1836); Stang (with illustrations, Stuttg., 1836); Jaekel (Leipz., 1841, new ed. Elberfeld, 1871); *Meurer (Dresden, 1843–’46, 3 vols. with illustrations, abridged in 1 vol., 1850, 3d ed., 1870, mostly in Luther’s own words); *Juergens (Leipz., 1846–’47, 3 vols., reaching to 1517, very thorough, but unfinished); J. M. Audin (Rom. Cath., Hist. de la vie, des ouvrages et des doctrines de M. Luth., Paris, 1839, 7th ed., revue et corrigée, 1856, 3 vols.—a storehouse of calumnies, also in German and English);110110    Audin wrote also the Lives of Calvin, of Henry VIII., and of Leo X. (published between 1839 and 1847), with the same French vivacity and Roman Catholic hostility; yet, while he does not understand Luther as a Protestant Christian and a reformer, he tries to do justice to him as a man and a genius. He says (III., 380): "Luther est le grand predicateur de la réforme. Il eut presque tous les dons de l’orateur; une inèpuisable fécondité de pensées, une imagination aussi prompte à recevoir qu’à produire ses impressions, une abondance et une suplesse de style inexprimables. Sa voix était claire et retentissante, son oeil brillant de flamme, sa téte antique, sa poitrine large, ses mains d’unerare beauté, son geste ample et rich .... C’était à la fois Rabelais et Montaigne: Rabelais avec sa verve drolatique de style, Montaigne avec ses tournures qui burinent et cisètent." The editor of the 7th ed., in his introductory notice (p. xviii.), says that those biographies of Audin have given to the Reformation "le coup de grace," and thus finished the work of Bossuet’s Variations; but Protestantism still lives, even in Catholic and infidel France. * M. Michelet (Mémoirs de L., écrits par lui-mème, traduits et mis en ordre, Paris, 1835, also Brussels, 1845, 2 vols.; the best biography in French; Eng. transl. by Hazlitt, London, 1846, and by G. H. Smith, London and N. Y., 1846);111111    Michelet lets Luther tell his own story as far as possible, and compares this story with the Confessions of Augustin and of Rousseau, which it unites."Dans saint Augustin" (he says, I., 6), "la passion, la nature, l’individuaté humaine, n’apparaissent que pour étre immolees à la grâce divine. C’est l’histoire d’une crise de l’ame, d’une renaissance, d’une Vita nuova; le saint eût rouqi de nous faire mieux connaître l’autre vie qu’il avait quitté. Dans Rousseau, c’est tous le contraire; il ne s’agit plus de la grace; la nature règne sans partage, elle triomphe, elle s’étale; cela va quelquefois jusqu ’au dégout. Luther a présenté, non pas l’equilibré de la grâce et de la nature, mais leur plus douloureux combat. Les luttes de la sensibilité, les tentations plus hautes du donte, bien d’autres hommes en eut suffert; Pascal les eut évidemment, il les étouffa et il en mourat. Luther n’a rien caché, il ne s’est pu contenir. Il a donné à voir en lui à sonder, la plaie profonde de notre nature. C’est le seul homme peut-âtre où l’on puisse étudier à plaisircette terrible anatomie." Ledderhose (Karlsruh, 3d ed., 1883; French transl. of the first ed., Strassburg, 1837); Genthe (Leipz., 1842, with seventeen steel engravings); Westermann (Halle, 1845); Weydmann (Luther, ein Charakter—und Spiegelbild für unsere Zeit, Hamburg, 1850); B. Sears (English, publ. by the Am. Sunday School Union, Philada., 1850, with special reference to the youth of L.); Jgn. Döllinger (R. C., Luther, eine Skizze, Freiburg i. B., 1851); König and Gelzer (with 48 fine illustrations, Hamb. u. Gotha, 1851; Engl. ed. with transl. of the text by Archdeacon Hare and Cath. Winkworth, Lond. and N. Y., 1856); * Jul. Hare (Vindication of Luther against his English Assailants, first publ. as a note in his The Mission of the Comforter, London, 1846, vol. II., 656–878, then separately, 2d ed., 1855, the best English appreciation of L.); II. Woersley (Life of Luther, London, 1856, 2 vols.); Wildenhahn (Leipz., 1861); Müller (Nürnberg, 1867); Henke (Luther u. Melanchthon, Marburg, 1867); H. W. J. Thiersch (Luther, Gustav Adolf und Maximilian I. von Bayern, Nördlingen, 1869, pp. 3–66); Vilmar (Luther, Melanchthon und Zwingli, Frankf. a. M., 1869); H. Lang (Berlin, 1870, rationalistic); Ackermann (Jena, 1871); Gasparin (Luther et la réforme ait XVe . siècle, Paris, 1873); Schaff (a sketch in Appleton’s "Cyclopaedia," 1858, revised 1874); Rietschel (Martin Luther und Ignatius Loyola, Wittenberg, 1879).


(3) Recent Biographies, published since 1875, by


Jul. Koestlin (Elberfeld, 1875, 2 vols., 2d ed. revised 1883; 3d ed. unchanged; upon the whole the best German biography; also an abridged ed. for popular use with 64 illustrations, 3d ed., 1883. English transl. of the small ed. by an anonymous writer with the author’s sanction, Lond. and N. Y., 1883; another by Morris, Philad., 1883; comp. also Koestlin’s art. Luther in Herzog, 2d ed., vol. IX.; his Festschrift, 1883, in several edd., transl. by Eliz. P. Weir: Martin Luther the Reformer, London, 1883; and his polemic tract: Luther und Janssen, der Deutsche Reformator und ein ultramontaner Historiker, Halle, 3d ed., 1883); V. Hasak (R. Cath., Regensb., 1881); Rein (Leipz., 1883, English transl. by Behringer, N. Y., 1883); Rogge, (Leipz., 1883); *Plitt and Petersen (Leipzig, 1883); *MAx Lenz (2nd ed. Berlin, 1883); P. Kuhn (Luther, sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 3 vols.); C. Burk (4th ed., Stuttg., 1884); *Th. Kolde (M. Luther, Gotha, 1884, 2 vols.); J. A. Froude (Luther, a Short Biography, Lond. and N. Y., 1883); John Rae (M. Luth.: Lond., 1884); Paul Martin, i.e., M. Rade of Schönbach (Dr. M. Luther’s Leben, etc., Neusalza, 1885–87, 3 vols.); Peter Bayne (M. Luth.: his Life and Times, Lond. and N. Y., 1887, 2 vols.).

On Luther’s wife and his domestic life: W. Beste: Die Gesch. Catherina’s von Bora. Halle, 1843 (131 pp.). G. Hofmann: Katharina von Bora, oder M. L. als Gatte, und Vater. Leipzig, 1846. John G. Morris: Life of Cath. von Bora, Baltimore, 1856. Mor. Meurer: Katherina Luther geborne von Bora. Dresden, 1854; 2d ed., Leipzig, 1873.


III. Luther’s Theology .

W. Beste: Dr. M. Luther’s Glaubenslehre. Halle, 1845 (286 pp.). Theodos. Harnack (senior): L.’s Theologie, Bd I. Erlang., 1862, Bd. II., 1886. *Jul. Koestlin: L.’s Theologie. Stuttg., 1863, 2d ed., 1883, 2 vols. By the same: Luther’s Lehre von der Kirche, 1853, new ed., Gotha, 1868. Ch. H. Weisse; Die Christologie Luthers, Leipz., 1852 (253 pp.). Luthardt: Die Ethik Luthers, Leipz., 1867, 2d ed., 1875. Lommatzsch: Luther’s Lehre von ethisch-relig. Standpunkt aus, Berlin, 1879). H. C. Moenckeberg: Luther’s Lehre von der Kirche. Hamburg, 1870. Hering: Die Mystik Luther’s. Leipz., 1879. Kattenbusch: Luther’s Stellung z. den ökumenischen Symbolen. Giessen, 1883.


IV. Luther as Bible Translator.

G. W. Panzer: Entwurf einer vollständigen Gesch. der deutschen Bibelübers. Dr. M. Luther’s von 1517–1581. Nürnberg, 1783. H. Schott: Gesch. der teutschen Bibelübers. Dr. M. Luther’s. Leipz., 1835. Bindseil: Verzeichniss der Original-Ausgaben der Luther. Uebersetzung der Bibel. Halle, 1841. Moenckeberg and Frommann: Vorschläge zur Revision von M. L.’s Bibelübers. Halle, 1861–62. Theod. Schott: Martin Luther und die deutsche Bibel. Stuttgart, 1883. E. Riehm (Prof. in Halle and one of the Revisers of the Luther-Bible): Luther als Bibelübersetzer. Gotta. 1884. Comp. the Probebibel of 1883 (an official revision of Luther’s version), and the numerous pamphlets for and against it.


V. Luther as a Preacher.

E. Jonas: Die Kanzelberedtsamkeit Luther’s. Berlin, 1852 (515 pp.). Best ed. of his sermons by G. Schlosser: Dr. Martin Luther’s Evangelien-Predigten auf alle Sonn-und Festtage des Kirchenjahres aus seiner Haus-und Kirchenpostille, Frankfurt a. M., 1883; 4th ed., 1885.


VI. Luther as Poet and Musician .

A. J. Rambach: Luther’s Verdienst um den Kirchengesang. Hamburg, 1813 Aug. Gebauer: Martin Luther und seine Zeitgenossen als Kirchenliederdichter. Leipzig, 1828 (212 pp.). C. von Winterfeld: Dr. M. Luth. deutsche geistliche Lieder nebst den wahrend seines Lebens dazu gebräuchlichen Stimmweisen. Leipzig, 1840 (132 pp., 4to). B. Pick: Luther as a Hymnist, Philad., 1875; Ein feste Burg (in 21 languages), Chicago, 1883. Bacon and Allen: The Hymns of Martin Luther with his original Tunes. Germ. and Eng., N. Y., 1883. Dr. Danneil: Luther’s Geistliche Lieder nach seinen drei Gesangbüchern von 1524, 1529, 1545. Frankfurt a. M., 1883. E. Achelis: Die Entstehungszeit v. Luther’s geistl. Liedern. Marburg, 1884.


VII. Special Points in Luther’s Life and Work.

John G. Morris: Quaint Sayings and Doings concerning Luther. Philadelphia, 1857. Tuzschmann: Luther in Worms. Darmstadt, 1860. Koehler: Luther’s Reisen. Eisenach, 1872. W. J. Mann and C. P. Krauth: The Great Reformation and the Ninety-five Theses. Philad., 1873. Zitzlaff. L. auf der Koburg. Wittenberg, 1882. Kolde. L. auf dem Reichstag zu Worms. Halle, 1883. Glock: Grundriss der Pädagogik Luther’s. Karlsruh, 1883.


VIII. Commemorative Addresses of 1883 and 1884.

Festschriften zur 400 jährigen Jubelfeier der Geburt Dr. Martin Luther’s, herausgegeben vom königl. Prediger-Seminar in Wittenberg. Wittenberg, 1883. (Addresses by Drs. Schmieder, Rietschel, and others.) P. Kleinert: L. im Verhältniss zur Wissenschaft (Academic oration). Berlin, 1883 (35 pp.). Ed. Reuss: Akad. Festrede zur Lutherfeier. Strassburg, 1883. Th. Brieger: Neue Mittheilungen über Luther in Worms. Marburg, 1883, and Luther und sein Werk. Marb., 1883. Ad. Harnack: M. Luther in seiner Bedeutung für die Gesch. der Wissenschaft und der Bildung. Giessen, 1883 (30 pp.). Vid Upsala Universitets Luthersfest, den 10 Nov., 1883, with an oration of K. H. Gez. von Scheele (Prof. of Theol. at Upsala, appointed Bishop of Visby in Gothland, 1885). Upsala, 1883. G. N. Bonwetsch: Unser Reformator Martin Luther. Dorpat, 1883. Appenzeller, Ruetschi, Oettli, and others: Die Lutherfeier in Bern. Bern, 1883. Prof. Salmond (of Aberdeen): Martin Luther. Edinburgh, 1883. J. M. Lindsay: M. Luther, in the 9th ed. of "Encyclop. Brit.," vol. XV. (1883), 71–84. Jean Monod: Luther j’usqu’en 1520. Montauban, 1883. J. B. Bittinger: M. Luth. Cleveland, 1883. E. J. Wolf, and others: Addresses on the Reformation. Gettysburg, 1884. The Luther Document (No. XVII.) of the American Evang. Alliance, with addresses of Rev. Drs. Wm. M. Taylor and Phillips Brooks. N. Y., 1883. Symposiac on Luther, seven addresses of the seven Professors of the Union Theol. Seminary in New York, held Nov. 19, 1883. Jos. A. Seiss: Luther and the Reformation (an eloquent commemorative oration delivered in Philad., and New York). Philad. 1884. S. M. Deutsch: Luther’s These vom Jahr 1519 über die päpstliche Gewalt. Berlin, 1884. H. Cremer: Reformation und Wissenschaft. Gotha, 1883

IX. Roman Catholic Attacks .

The Luther-celebration gave rise not only to innumerable Protestant glorifications, but also to many Roman Catholic defamations of Luther and the Reformation. The ablest works of this kind are by Janssen (tracts in defence of his famous History of Germany, noticed in § 15), G. G. Evers, formerly a Lutheran pastor (Katholisch oder protestantisch? Hildesheim, 4th ed., 1883; Martin Luther’s Anfänge, Osnabrück, 3d ed., 1884; Martin Luther, Mainz, 1883 sqq., in several vols.), Westermayer. (Luther’s Werk im Jahr 1883), Germanus, Herrmann, Roettscher, Dasbach, Roem, Leogast, etc. See the "Historisch-politische Blätter" of Munich, and the "Germania" of Berlin, for 1883 and 1884 (the chief organs of Romanism in Germany), and the Protestant review of these writings by Wilh. Walther: Luther in neusten römischen Gericht. Halle, 1884 (166 pages).



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