Special Collections: Luther Bibles

img_2023Special Collections Exhibit 2014:

Bibles and Bible commentary:

Endter Luther Bible no. 1 (Monroe)

SPU possess three of the Luther Bibles published by Wolfgang Endter and descendants between 1629 to 1788.  The Luther Bibles published by the Endter clan came in three basic forms:  the octavo-sized Saubert (from 1726 the Mörl) Bible (1629-1822), and the small and large folio-sized Weimar (1641-1768) and Dilherr (1656-1788) Bibles.  All three of the copies owned by SPU lack a firm date of publication, and the first two, an opening title page.  For this reason I refer to them by the donor-names Monroe, Marston, and Frost.  Monroe, the one featured here, is clearly the earliest.  Though it bears internal (and copperplate-based) title pages dated 1643 (not to mention a faint penciled inscription to that effect on a blank—and detached—opening page), this information may not be trustworthy, if only because all three of the copies owned by SPU may be Dilherr (1656-1788) rather than Weimar (1641-1768) Bibles.  They appear to be Dilherr Bibles because each meets the three Dilherr criteria specified by Oertel:

1) They are all folio-sized, and they all contain both 2) Johann Dilherr’s “Vorrede an den gottseligen Leser” (only partially still there in Monroe); and 3) Salomon Glassius’ notes (or Nutzen, embedded in the text in Monroe, but marginalized in Marston and Frost).  For these reasons (and because the first of the many editions of the Dilherr Bible appeared in 1656), I am inclined to wonder whether those three internal title pages (located at the onset of the Historical books, the New Testament, and the Epistles), though clearly authentic, would match the title page proper, did we have it.  (Indeed an excessively suspicious person might suspect that there are signs that the former may have been tipped in.  Yet it should also be noted that (and here I contradict myself), the second edition of the Weimar bore 1644 “auf dem gedruckten Haupttitel” (“on its printed main title [page]”), but 1643 “Auf dem in Kupfer gestochenen Titel” (“on the title [page] engraved on copper”) (Panzer, Geschichte (1778), 197).)  A further clue may be the fact that, except for the copperplate-based title pages, 4) Monroe is dominated (as an early Dilherr would be) by woodcuts.  (Were there two-column woodcuts in the early Weimar editions?)

But there are also reasons to think that, if a Dilherr, it may not post-date 1679:  the fact that, possessing only a Register of Sunday Gospel and Epistle readings, 5) it lacks the traditional four Registers transferred over from the Weimar Bible from 1720, the fact that 6) it sports no engraving of Luther and his family, and the fact that 7) it appears to lack a feature characteristic of Weimar Bibles and also many Dilherr Bibles from 1679, namely the copperplate engravings of the eleven Saxon Herzöge.

So though it is entirely possible that Monroe could date from 1643, or even be a second (i.e. 1644) edition of the Weimar rather than a Dilherr, I would place it for the time being tentatively somewhere between 1656 and 1674 (which is the date of the last Dilherr edition before the one dated 1679) inclusive.

Nonetheless, because a lot has been published on these Bibles, a great deal of additional progress could, given time, be made.  (So for my latest thoughts on this, see the exhibit notes themselves.)

This Endter Dilherr (?) Luther Bible was a gift of SPU Instructor of Nursing Heidi Monroe, who says that it would have come over from Germany with her paternal great grandfather Hermann Robert Baum, who was a druggist and the proprietor of the former Baum’s Pharmacy in San Francisco.

Possible fuller title:  [Biblia, das ist, die gantze heilige Schrifft dess alten und neuen Testaments.  Wie solche von Hernn Doctor Martin Luther Seel. im Jahr Christi 1522 in unsere Teutsche Mutter-Sprach zu übersetzen angefangen anno 1554 zu End gebracht. . . .]

- Steve Perisho

Sources:

Book Review Tuesday: Special Collection Exhibit

Palmer, Walter C., M.D.  Life and letters of Leonidas L. Hamline, D.D., late one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church. . . .  New York:  Published by Carlton & Porter, 200 Mulberry-Street, 1866.

A month in which we have been reminded that the papacy, at least (if not, as in Methodism, the episcopacy), is an office, not an order, seems a good month to remember “Elder” Leonidas Lent Hamline (1797-1865), important for many reasons other than his precedent-setting resignation, not least his articulation of the principle that General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church had the constitutional authority to suspend a  bishop for slaveholding; the contribution he made to the foundation of Hamline University; and the support he gave to the Holiness revival led by Phoebe Worrall Palmer (1807-1874). This copy of the 1866 Life by Phoebe’s husband Walter (1804-1883) was given to the father of German-American Methodism, William Nast (1807-1899), by Leonidas P. Hamline, a son of the former bishop. It was given to Seattle Pacific by Dr. William Kostlevy.

Steve Perisho,Theology and Philosophy Librarian