German Version of the Scriptures
German Version Of The Scriptures By way of supplement we add the following. It is a well-known fact that, during his life, Luther made changes and corrections in each new edition of the Bible translation he published. His last edition, that of 1545, was by everybody acknowledged to contain some errors, and among these was the omission of twelve whole verses. The issue in 1546, one year after his death, contained a number of changes from that of a year earlier. For nearly two centuries Luther's translation was published only by private individuals, who could and did introduce a number of changes and deviations from the last edition of the translation. The result was that, gradually, the Christians of Germany became convinced that a return to the authentic shape of Luther's own translation should be made. The first movement in this direction was made by the Canstein Bible Institute, founded in 1712 at Halle. This institute in many, but not in all, places restored the original text of Luther, and was followed by the various Bible societies. Finally, in the year 1857, the German Bible societies decided to go to work in a systematic manner towards the attainment of this object. The Canstein Institute took the lead, and. the German ecclesiastical authorities cooperated and aided in the work. A twofold object was proposed; first, to put the orthographical and grammatical features of the translation into modern shape; and secondly, which was the main thing, to restore a harmonious text. The first of these tasks was intrusted to the hands of Dr. Frommann, of Nuremberg, the greatest authority on the language of Luther's day. For the second object, two committees of theologians were appointed, one for the New Test., which did its work in 1865 and 1866, and published it in 1867, and one for the Old Test., which worked from 1871 to 1882. The leading scholars of Germany, as Nitzsch, Twesten, Riehm, Beyschlag, KIstlini, Meyer, Brickner, Schlottmann, Tholuck, Kamphausen, Kleinert, Bertheau, Delitzsch, Thenius, Diestel, Grimm, and others, constituted these committees. The result of years of scholarly toil was published at Halle under the title, Die Bibel, oder die ganze Heilige Schrift des Alten und Neuen Testaments nach der deutschen Uebersetzung Dr. Martin Luthers. Erster Abdruck der im Auftrage der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenkonferenz Revidirte Bibel. (Sogenannte Probebibel), in 1883. This book is now in the hands of the churches for criticisms, which were to be sent in by the fall of 1885; but the time has been lengthened by the Prussian authorities one year. Then the revision will receive its final shape, and will eventually be published by all the Bible societies of the German empire. In order to facilitate the examination of the work, the revisers have printed in "fat" or spaced letters, i.e., German italics, all those passages where Luther's original version differs from the modern editions, and also where the committees have made an entirely new rendering. The former class of passages are distinguished from the latter by having small hyphens before and after them. Like the revised English Test., this Probe-Bibel is criticised by the wise and unwise, and has already created not a small library of essays on the subject of revision. Some are dissatisfied on dogmatical grounds, others because the revisers did not act more radically. The last word has not yet been spoken.
Various other German translations have been given in commentaries and separately, but they are all of private authority. (B.P.)