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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Mystery surrounds find of 'Luther Bible'

Was the book found recently in Stuttgart, Germany, Luther's or his student's?

In this Luther Year, marking the 450th anniversary of the reformer's death in 1546, it's difficult to match the excitement of the discovery of his personal Bible.

Last November Manuel Santos-Noya, a Roman Catholic scholar sorting Bibles in the State Library of Stuttgart, Germany, announced he had found the very Bible Martin Luther used to translate the New Testament into vernacular German in 1522 at Wartburg Castle. But the new discovery was a Latin (Vulgate) Bible.

Since Luther patterned his translation on a Greek text (provided by Erasmus of Rotterdam), there was an immediate protest, especially by those who overlooked that in one of his letters Luther mentioned the use of a Biblia Latina while at work on his translation.

The "Stuttgart Luther Bible," as it has been dubbed, is no hoax. But is it a great discovery?


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