The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection
Luther's First German Old Testament
Das Allte Testament deutsch. Translated by Martin Luther. Wittenberg: [Melchior Lotther for Lucas Cranach and Christian Döring], 1523-24.
Collection includes two of the most important editions translated by
Martin Luther (1483–1546). Although twelve editions of an old German
translation of the Vulgate had been printed during the fifteenth
century, Luther’s translation of the original scriptures into the German
of the people played a major role in the spread of the Reformation.
Immediately after the highly successful publication of his German New
Testament in 1522, Luther then began to translate the Old Testament.
Although his knowledge of Hebrew was not great, Luther was able to rely
on the advice of several Hebrew scholars, including the young Wittenberg
reformer, Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), as well as the literal
exegesis of the scriptures found in the Postillae of Nicholas of
Lyra (c. 1270–1349). The first edition of Luther’s Old Testament
contains full-page woodcut illustrations by Lucas Cranach the Elder, one
of Germany’s leading artists.