fol. Pp4v-Qq1r, Galatians
Thette ere thet Nøye testamenth paa danske ret effter latinen vdsatthe. [Wittenberg]: Melchior Lotter, 1524.
Octavo. 332 of 343 leaves, 6½ x 4½ inches. Gothic. Full-page woodcuts, large historiated initials. Bound in 17th-century Danish calfskin; spine gilt. Title leaf, A2, A4, B4, Aa14, gg1, ss1 and ss4 in facsimile. § DM 3149. § CD-ROM: 6.3, fol. S1r, St. Luke; 6.3, fol. d3v, St. John the Evangelist; 6.3, fol. Dd2r, St. Paul; 6.3, fol. Hh4r, St. Paul.
This illustrated New Testament of 1524 was the first to be printed in Danish and the first to be printed in any Scandinavian language (Swedens first New Testament appeared in 1526). Although the colophon states that the Danish New Testament was printed in Leipzig, the printer, Melchior Lotter the Younger, had in the years 151925 moved his printing shop from Leipzig to Wittenberg in order to work more closely with Martin Luther. The work was translated at the command of the exiled King Christian II of Denmark (14811559), a recent convert to Lutheranism, in order to win the support of the Danish Protestants.
The translation of the Danish New Testament was the work of Christiern Vinter, Hans Mikkelsen (the royal Secretary and former mayor of Malmö), and Henrik Smith. The Gospels and Acts were translated from Erasmuss Latin version, while the remaining books were derived from Luthers German. The edition shares the same fine title page and elaborate woodcut portraits of the evangelists and apostles that Georg Lemberger (ca. 1495ca. 1540) had designed for Luthers German octavo version printed by Lotter at Wittenberg in 1524. New to this edition are a woodcut portrait of Christian II and his coat of arms by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Lemberger and Cranach were two of the most gifted and expressive artists of the German Renaissance, and the latter enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with Luther.
The second part of this edition, beginning with Romans, is introduced by Cranachs woodcuts, and by Mikkelsens letter to the Danish people urging them to support Christian II against the Catholics. These features caused the work to be banned in Denmark during the Kings exile, and consequently these pages were removed from most copies, including the Ryrie copy. The Lutherans had trouble smuggling the New Testament into Denmark, and ultimately it failed to win support for the King, who soon found it politically expedient to revert to Catholicism. Only forty-one copies of this New Testament are known to exist.
The first complete Danish Bible did not appear until 1550, when a "Lutheran" translation by Christiern Pedersen (ca. 14801554) was decreed by King Christian III as the official Bible of all Danish subjects. The financing of Pedersens Bible, published at Copenhagen by Ludwig Dietz, was realized through the royal order that every Danish church purchase at least one copy.
Literature: Benzing 1982, 498; Hotchkiss and Price 1996, 153; Noack 1969, 13540; Schmidt 1962, 11316.