German Versions of the Holy Scripiures

German Versions Of The Holy Scripiures.

1. Early Versions. — There is no certain trace of any attempt to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular dialects of the German people previous to the latter half of the 9th century. Though Charlemagne enjoined upon his clergy the study of the Bible and the delivering of expositions of it to the people in the vulgar tongue, there is no evidence for the assertion hazarded by Usher (De Script. Vernac. page 109) and others that German versions of the Bible were made by his order; nor is the statement that a Saxon poet had, by order of his son Lewis, versified the whole Bible (Flacius Ill. Catal. Test. page 93) better supported. It is to the poetical narratives of the life of our Savior which appeared .after the middle of the 9th century, that the beginnings of Biblical translation among the Germans are to be traced. The Krist of Otfried of Weissenburg (in A.D. 860); the Heliand, by an unknown author, and perhaps about the same time, are the earliest documents of which anything certain can be said. Of both of these editions have been printed; the best are, of the Krist, that by E.G. Graff (Konigsb. 1831); and of the Heliand, those of J.A. Schmeller, with a glossary (Munich. 1840), and J.R. Kone, with a translation (Munst. 1855). Some fragments of a very ancient translation of, Matthew have been published by St. Endlicher and II. Hoffmann, 1834,. and by J.F. Minassmann, 1841, from a codex in the library at Vienna; the dialect in this version is very rude, and, if not promincial, would seem to point to an earlier date than the 9th century. Versions of the Psalter seem to have been executed in considerable numbers in the 10th century; one of these, by Notker Labeo, abbot of St. Gall, is given by Sebilter (Thes. volume 1), and others anonymous are to be found in Grafs's Deutsche Interlinear versasonen der Psalmeas (Quad. 1839). A paraphrase of the Song of Songs, in Latin verse and German prose, by William of Ebiersnbeg in Bavaria (cir. 1080), has been edited in Schilter's Thes. 1, and separately by Merula (Leayd. 1598), Freher (Worms, 1631), and recently with additional fragments of other parts of Scripture, by Hoffmann (Bera. 1827). This scholar has also edited, in the 2d volume of his Fundgruben, a metrical translation of Genesis and part of Exodus, belonging to the same period or a little later. To the 13th century belongs the chronicle of Rudolf von Hopenems, which is a sort of poetical version of. the historical parts of the O.T.; of this many MSS. exist, and an edition has been published, but from a bad text, by Schuitze (Hamb. 1779). Several works of a similar kind, in which the Biblical narratives are set forth, sometimes with apocryphal additions, were produced about this time; of these, one, which exists in various dialects and in numerous codices, is a version of the historical parts of Scripture in prose, composed partly from the poetical versions already extant, partly translated from the Vulgate (Massmann, Die Kaiserchronik 3:754). Formal translations from the Vulgate began now to be multiplied; of these MSS. exist, though the names of the authors have for the most part perished (Reiske, De Verss. Geras. ante Lutherum, 1697; Schober, Bericht von alten Denutschen geschriebenen Bibeln, 1763; Rosenmüller, Hist. Interpr. 5:174, etc.). Out of these, though by what process we are unable to describe, came the complete version of the Bible in German, which was in the possession of the people before the invention of printing, and of which copies were multiplied to a great extent as soon as that art came into operation. Before 1477 five undated editions, the four earlier at Mayence and Strasburg, as is believed, the fifth at Augsburg, as the book itself attests, bad been printed; and between 1477 and 1522, nine editions, seven at Augsburg, one at Ntiremberg, and one at Strasburg, were issued. Several editions of the Psalter also appeared, and one of the Gospels, with the Pericopa from the Epistles. Collectors tell also of a translation of Ruth by Boschenstayn, 1525; of Malachi by Hetzer, 1526; of Hosea by Capito, 1527, and other similar attempts (Riederer, Nachrichten Il., 8vo, sq.). An important place must be also assigned to the translation of the N.T. into Danish by Hans Mikkelsen (Leips. 1524); which, though avowedly "ret effter latinen vdsatthe," bears numerous traces of independence of the Vulgate, and of being made directly from the Greek (Henderson, Dissertation on Hans Mikkelsen's N.T., Copenh. 1813). Of translations into Low German, one was printed at Cologne, 1480; another at Lübeck, 1498; and a third at Halberstadt, 1522.

2. Luther's Version. — The appearance of this constitutes an epoch, not only in the history of the Church, but also in that of German literature and of the German people. Luther's version is a permanent monument of the author's ability and indomitable perseverance. Luther had few helps in his arduous work. His exegetical aids were limited to the Septuagint, the Vulgate, a few Latin fathers, the N.T. of Erasmus, and such Hebrew as could be learned from the imperfect elementary books then extant. He had, however, valuable coadjutors in Melancthon, Bugenhagen, Jona, Aurogallus, and Creuziger, whom he constantly consulted, especially when any difficulty occurred. He had access also to the Rabbinical expositions through some learned Jews. But the main burden of the work rested with himself, and it was to his own resources he had chiefly to trust for success. Of the patient toil he bestowed upon it some idea may be formed from what he himself says of his labors on the book of Job: "On Job, M. Philip, Aurogallus, and I, worked so that sometimes in four days we had hardly succeeded in accomplishing three lines." With what anxious care he sought to perfect his work may be seen from the MS. of the third part of his translation, containing Job, Psalms, and the writings of Solomon, still preserved in the Royal Library at Berlin, written in his own hand, and exhibiting the corrections which he made in the style and expression before sending it to press. Not unfrequently as many as three forms of expression, and sometimes more, occur, between which he hesitated before finally fixing on the one which he would print. He spent on the work in all twelve years. The N.T., completed by him in the Wartburg, appeared in 1522; the five books of Moses (Das Alte Testament, Deutsch, th. 1) in 1523; the other historical books as far as Esther (Das A. T. Deutsch, th. 2) in the close of the same year; Job, Psalms, and the Solomonic writings (Das A. T., th. 3) in 1524; between 1526 and 1531 several of the prophetic writings were issued, and in 1532 appeared the collective body of the Prophets as th. 4 of Das A.T. Deutsch. The Book of Wisdom was issued in 1529, and the rest of the apocryphal books in 1533 and 1534. The whole Bible was thus completed, and appeared under the title "BIBLIA: d. i. die ganze heilige Schrift. Deutsch, Martin Luther, Wittenberg. Gedruckt durch Hans Lufft, 1534," fol. (Pischon,,Die hohe Wichtigkeit der Uebersetz. der I. S. durch Dr. JM. Luther, Berl. 1834). Of this work thirty-eight editions were printed in Germany before 1580, besides seventy-two of the N.T., and innumerable reprints of other smaller portions (Panzer, page 336).

3. Zürich Bible. — This is a combination of Luther's translation of the other books with a new translation of the prophetical writings by Con. Pellican, Leo Juda, Theod. Bibliander, etc. It appeared in 1524, and was reprinted in 1527, and twice in 1530. In 1531 another edition appeared, with a new translation of the poetical books (Panzer, page 260). The Worms Bible, 1529, is a work of the same kind as the Zurich Bible.

4. Versions from Luther's Bible in the other Teutonic Dialects. 1. Low German, by J. Hoddersen, 1533 and often; 2. Danish, N.T., 1524, Bible, 1550: this is found also in Hutter's Polyglot; 3. Swedish, N.T., 1526, by Laurentius Andrea, Bible, 1541, by Laurent. and Olaus Petri; 4. Icelandic, N.T. 1540, Bible 1584, by Gudb: Thorlakson, bishop of Holum; 5. Dutch, N.T. 1526, Antw., printed by Liesvelt, whence this is called the Liesvelt N.T.; the whole Bible was translated anew after Luther into Dutch by Ad. Vischer in 1648, and this is the existing authorized version for the Dutch Lutherans; 6. Pomeranian, 1588.

5. Versions of the Reformed Church. — Of these the first was the production of David Pareus, and appeared in 1579. It was superseded by that of J. Piscator in 1602, of which many editions have appeared. A translation of the N.T., by Amandus Polanus, appeared in 1603. In 1665 a new translation for the use of the Swiss churches appeared at Zurich, the authors of which were Hottinger, Suicer, Fiisslin, and others. In Holland various attempts were made to produce versions direct from the originals. In 1556 J. Uitenhoven issued the N.T., and in 1562 the whole Bible; and in 1587 appeared the Bible translated by J. Hackius, which chiefly follows the Geneva [French] Bible.

6. Authorized Versions. — In the year 1618 the Synod of Dort appointed a commission of 22 members to prepare a new version; this appeared in 1637, and received the authorization of the States General. This is the authorized Dutch version. The Danish version was completed in 1607 by P.J. Resen, and in 1647 appeared with the royal sanction, after it had been carefully revised by Hans Svaning, archbishop of Zealand. The Icelandic version received its permanent form in 1644 from Thorlak Skuleson, the grandson of Thorlakson, and his successor in the episcopate. The authorized Swedish version was completed under the auspices of Gustavus III.; it consists of a revised edition of the work of Andrea and Petri, and appeared in 1618.

7. Roman Catholic Versions. — The earliest of these is the N.T. of Emser, "nach lawt der christliche Kirchen bewerten Text," etc., sine loc. 1527, fol., Leipz. 1529, 8vo, and often since. In 1534 the Bible of Dietenberger (q.v.) appeared at Mayence; and in 1537, that of Eck (q.v.) at Ingolstadt. Previous to these, Casper Ulenberg had translated the Bible in accordance with the Sixtine text of the Vulgate, and this translation, revised by the Jesuits at Mayence in 1661, appeared as Die Catholische Bibel. Revised editions were issued by Ehrhard in 1722, and by Cartier in 1751; and it has been often reprinted both with and without the Latin text. More recent versions by Roman Catholics are those of Salamann (Lux. 1770), Wittola (Vien. 1775), Weitenauer (Augs. 1777), Fleischutz (Fuld. 1778), Rosalino (Vien. 1781), Fischer (Prag. 1784), Braun (Vienna, 1786), Lauber (1786), Mutschelle (Munich, 1789), Weyl (May, 1789), Krach (Aug. 1790), Brentano, Dereser, and Scholz (17901833), Babor (1805), Van Ess (1807), Schnappfinger (1807), Widemann (1809), Kistemaker (1825), Scholz (1828), Allioli (1838), Loch and Reischl (1857). Of these, the majority are confined to the N.T. The translations of Van Ess, Scholz, and Allioli have been repeatedly issued. Gossner, pastor of the Bohemian Church in Berlin, published a translation of the N.T. from the Greek in 1815, which has often been reprinted.

8. Other Versions. — In 1630 J. Crell issued a German translation of the Bible in the interests of Socinianism; and in 1660 another, in the interests of Arminianism, was published by Jer. Felbinger. The Remonstrant party in Holland published a translation in Dutch, made by Chr. Hartsoeker, in 1680. In 1666 a Jewish translation of the O.T. into German was published by Joseph Athias; this, along with the versions of Luther, Piscator, Caspar Ulenberg, the Dutch A.V., and a version of the N.T. by J.H. Reitzen, printed in parallel columns, was published under the title of Biblia Pentapla (3 volumes, 4to, Hamb. 1711). Of German versions of more recent date there are many. Those of Triller (1703), Reiz (1712), Junkherrot (1732), Heumann (1748), Bengel (1753), Michaelis (1769-85), Sillig (1778), Seiler (1783), Stolz (1795), the Berlebuig Bible (1726, etc.), belong to the Lutheran Church; those of Grayneus (3 volumes, 8vo, Basle, 1776), and Voegelin (Zurich, 1781) to the Reformed. Belonging to the present century are the translations of Preiss (1811), Schaifer (1816), Mayer (1829), [Richter and Pleissner] (18030), Bockel (1832), Alt (1837), Von der Heyd (1852), chiefly of the N.T. only. But all these yield in importance to the work of De Wette, prepared originally in conjunction with Augusti (6 volumes, Heidelb. 180914), subsequently wholly by himself (3 volumes, 1831-33, 4th ed. 1858). The Jewish version by Arnheims, Fiarst, and Sachs, under the editorship of Zunz (Berlin, 1838), is also deserving of notice. Finally we notice the careful translations in Phillippson's Israelitische Bibel (1858) and Bunsen's Bibelwerk (1858 sq.). — Kitto, s.v.

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