Deutsch / German Bible History: updated 4/27/2016

Useful Resources
No endorsement of M. Luther's soteriology.

**List: German Ministry

Bibel / Bible
German is spoken by at least 100 million people, more than three
fourths of whom live in the two Germanies.   It is the official
language of Austria and Luxembourg, and one of the official
languages of Switzerland.   German-speaking communities are
found in adjacent Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland), Italy (South
Tyrol), and Yugoslavia, and throughout the Balkan countries, as
far as the Ukraine.   There are also several million Germans immi-
grants and their descendants in the United States and South
America.   As a second or acquired language, German is spoken
throughout Europe and by a few people in areas of former
German colonial influence: Cameroun, Togo, Tanzania, South
West Africa, and scattered groups of Pacific islands.

The early Germanic peoples were linguistically divided into
Eastern (see Gothic) and Western tribes.   The Western Germanic
group included the Lombards (or Langobardi, who settled around
Pavia in Italy, and disappeared), Saxons (see German: Low),
Franks (see Frankish), and Thuringians, Alemanians, Bavarians,
and Hessians.   The first extant example of written German is the
manuscript of the Strassburg Oaths, 812 A.D., written in what is
known as Old High German.   At this time the Northern, or Low,
German dialects were spoken by the Saxons (this dialect de-

veloped into the Plattdeutsch of today) and by the Northern
Franks (whose Low-Franconian dialect became mixed with
Frisian and Saxon elements and formed the basis of modern
Dutch).   The other Germanic groups spoke Southern, or High,
German dialects.   Old High German is commonly said to have
[changed] into Middle High German around 1100.   Beginning in
the late 13th century we note some of the linguistic elements that
characterize the German of today.   Luther's Bible helped to
establish the standard literary form of the language.   Regional
dialectal distinctions are still noted in vernacular German.

Old German versions of the Scriptures were prepared as early as
the 8th century.   (See discussion under Frankish.)   By the time of
the advent of printing in the West, numerous translations of the
Bible had been made into German, and many are still preserved
in the more than 200 extant manuscripts.   The first printed
German Bible employed the text of one of these early versions.
Thought to have been composed around the end of the 14th
century, it contained many words that were already unintelligible
to the mid-15th century reader.   The other 13 pre-Lutheran High
German Bibles were, nonetheless, based on the same text.   Four
Low German editions were printed.   These are here treated under
German: Low.

With Martin Luther and his Bible a new era begins in the history
of the Chr. Chu., marked by a renewed interest in the
Scriptures.   The importance of Luther's Bible cannot be over-
estimated.   Not only did it become the foundation of the Ref.-
ation spirit in Germany; it served also as the basis of translations
into several other European tongues.   Although revised several
times, it remains essentially as Luther prepared it.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only: Many German bibles after 1912 are Critical Text.]

"1466 Bible Mentel, Strassburg
The first Bible printed in a modern language.   The text of this Bible
was taken from a Ms. version attributed to an unknown scholar of the
late 14th century.   All 13 of the other pre-Lutheran Bibles were based on
this text.   Other notable pre-Lutheran printings which followed the
Mentel text were: 1470, Egg., Strassburg; 1475, Pfl.,
Augsburg; 1475, Zai., Augsburg; 1475?, Sen. &
Fri., Nürnberg; 1477, Sor., Augsburg; 1483, Kob., Nürnberg;
1487, Sch., Augsburg; 1507 Otmar, Augsburg.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only: 1466 Mark 1:2 appears incorrect.]

"1522 New Testament
1523-1524 Genesis-Song of Solomon Lotther, Wittenberg
1532 Prophets Lufft, Wittenberg
The translation prepared by Martin Luther.   So immediate was its
success (85 reprintings of the N.T. appeared before the O.T. was com-
pleted in 1532), and so durable its style, that it remains the standard
Protestant German Bible to this day.   The first complete edition of the
Luther Bible was published in 1534 (Lufft, Wittenberg); revisions by
Luther himself were published in 1541 (known as ‘Melanchthon's
Bible’), 1545 (the ‘Standard Luther text’), and 1567, the first text with
verse divisions.   Several revisions appeared later.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only: 1522 Mark 1:2 correct.
1522 September Luther NT,
1530 Luther NT,]

"1527-1529 Bible Froschauer, Zürich
The ‘Zürich Bible’, adapted slightly to reflect Swiss German usage.
(Such adaptation was common practice in the 16th century.)   Thus most
editions of Luther's Bible published in southern Germany or Switzer-
land, i.e., Augsburg, Basel, and Nürnberg, included either explanatory
notes or different readings to accomodate the German dialects of these
areas.   (See also Low German.)   Growing impatient because of the
delay in publication of Luther's version of the Prophets (1532), a com-
mittee of Zürich ministers themselves translated Isaiah-Malachi, and
published their version with the Luther text of the rest of the Bible.
Other such ‘Combined Bibles’ also appeared.   ....
--1000 Tongues   [Info only]

"1529 Bible Schoeffer, Worms
The Zürich Bible with slight revisions.   Known as the ‘Baptist Bible’,
it was the first published Protestant Bible to include the name Bible
(Biblia) as a general title.   A century later another significant revision by
J. Breitinger appeared in Zürich.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only]

"1531 Bible Froschauer, Zürich
A new edition of the Zürich Bible, with a new rendering of Job-Song of
Solomon.   The preface is thought to be written by Hul. Zwi.,
the famous Swiss
--1000 Tongues   [Info only: ?]

"1780-1783 Pentateuch (Hebrew character)
D. F. Starcke, Berlin
Translated by Moses Mendelssohn for German Jews.   Although
vigorously opposed at first, it became a standard text and was often
republished.   Also printed in Gothic character.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only: ?]

"1826-1836 Old Testament (Hebrew character)   Karlsruhe
Translated by Asher ben Joseph for German Jews."
--1000 Tongues   [Info only: ?]

"1870 New Testament   1892 Bible   Halle
A revision of Luther's text by a commission of scholars appointed by
the Eisenach German Evangelical Conference in 1863.   Tentative
editions had appeared in 1867 and 1883.   The most important revisions
of Luther's text which appeared in the 19th century, it is known as ‘the
Halle issue of the definitive edition of the revised Luther Bible’.   Other
revisions by J. F. von Meyer (1819), and Rudolf Stier (1856) were
published by BFBS.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only]

"1903 New Testament   1905 Bible   Bonn
Translated by F. Schlachter, a Swiss scholar of Biel.   It is known as the
‘Miniature Bible’.   Certain O.T. portions in Schlachter's translation
appeared before publication of the complete Bible.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only]

"1931 New Testament Stuttgart
Translated by Adolf Schlatter."
--1000 Tongues   [Info only]

"Since the mid-16th century there have been numerous publications of
German Scriptures, transliterated into Hebrew character, for the use of
German Jews.   They include the following transliterations from
Luther's text:

1540, Cracow, New Testament (incomplete), by Johann Harzuge,
a Jewish convert to Christianity.
1820, London, New Testament, by Judah D’Allemand, for the
London Jews Society.
[BFBS] Vienna, Old Testament, by R. König, Free Church
of Scotland Mission to the Jews.
--1000 Tongues   [Info only]

"Die Septemberbibel. Das Neue Testament, (Berlin, G. Grote, 1883)"   [Info only: facsimile production of M.L.'s 1522 N.T.   How was the word baptize translated?]

**File: German--Other Bible History

"Luther's German translation, Biblia Germanica, was released in
1534.   It was done directly from the Masoretic Hebrew text and
the second edition of Erasmus Greek text.   He also consulted
the Latin text of Paganinus.   The original Lutheran Bible is still

It has been said that no other translation of the Bible, apart from
the King James Bible, has had a greater impact upon its people
and culture than the German Bible of Luther.

A Swiss-German version of the Lutheran Bible, the Zurich
Bible, was produced in the late 1530s.   It was compared to the
Greek and Hebrew by Leo Judd and a revision was released in

Judd disagreed with Luther and his close associate Zwingli and
advocated the separation of church and state.

The Zurich Bible is still in print.

Luther's Bible has been revised dozens of times.   The revisions
differ dramatically in their faithfulness to Luther's original
translation and to the Received Text.   Versions of Luther's
Bible are available from many sources including Independent
Baptist Publishers.   It is often very hard to identify which
version is being printed.   According to Lutheran sources, the
1868 revision is the last "conservative" edition.

There was another German Received Text Bible, the
Elberfelder, which was released in 1871.   It is not in print
today, though it can be viewed on the internet.

In 1998, La Buona Novella, Swiss publishers published an
edition of the Lutheran New Testament designed to remove
Critical Text influence.   It is not recognized by the Lutheran
denomination.   It should not be confused with the 1992
Lutheran Bible (which is completely Critical Text)
by the Lutheran Church.

Another German translation, the Schlachter 2000 is known as a
Received Text Bible.   The Dunelin Road Archive, July 2007,
confirms this as a Bible for German speakers who honor the
Received Text.

Franz Schlachter released his translation in 1905.   A major
revision was released in 1951.   The 2000 edition is available
from BEAMS, P.O. Box 10200, Gulfport, Mississippi, 39505,

According to my. Jim Garrison, the Schlactor 2000 is
translated from the Received Text (New Testament) and the
Masoretic Text (Old Testament).   It was compared to the Old
Lutheran Bible, the Zurich Bible and the King James Bible.   It
is printed by the Geneva Bible Society."

"Die Bibel; oder, Die ganze Heilige Schrift des Alten und Neuen Testaments, nach der deutschen übersetzung D. Martin Luthers. Durchgesehene ausg., mit dem von der Deutschen evangelischen kirchenkonferenz genehmigten text. (Berlin, Britische und ausländische bibelgesellschaft, 1912)"   [Info only: BFBS.]

Luther Bibel 1545 (LUTH1545)   [Info only]

German Luther's Bible (1545)

[1545, 1912: Mark 6:2 Were astonished, Luther adds: Seiner Lehre.
1545, 1912: 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son, Luther adds: Gottes--of God.
1545, 1912: Matt. 1:18 Omit: Jesus.
1545 Acts 13:33 reads: andern Psalm.
1545, 1912: Eph. 3:3: For: he made known, reads: was made known.
1912: 1 John 5:7: omits: There are three that bear record . . . and the Holy Ghost.   Eras- mus: Ed. 3-5 has it.   The Complutensian has it.   Tyndale has it, either from the Vulgate or Erasmus 3.
1545, 1912: Rev. 19:9: possibly omits: the marriage.]--CHM.

Schlachter 1951 (SCH1951)   [Info only]

Schlachter 2000 (SCH2000)   [Info only]

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