Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables

Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables

Wittenberg (Germany) — 1516–1532

The connection of Greek fables with the parables of Jesus: an inside look into unknown facets with sayings, warnings, and admonitions of the great reformer

  1. This collection includes the classical allegory and letters written by Martin Luther (1483–1546) between 1516 and 1532

  2. Luther saw similarities between the fables and the parables of Jesus Christ and translated them into German

  3. Some indication of the reformer's sentiments is given in his personal testimonies, warnings, and admonishments

Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables

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  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables

Martin Luther’s collection of letters and Aesop’s Fables contains letters of the reformer that date from between 1516 and 1532. The personal letters of the reformer reveal some unknown facets of the famous monk. He read the Aesop’s Fables he had translated during his sermons at the beginning of the Reformation.

Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables

The fables of the ancient Greek poet Aesop are handed down today in numerous and widely-varying sources. The stories with a moral lesson have been frequently adapted in modern media as well. The connection between the metaphorical animal stories and the Reformation teachings of Martin Luther may not be immediately apparent for most. The reformer saw similarities between the fables by the Greek poet and the parables of Jesus Christ. Therefore, he wanted to make the stories accessible in the German language for his followers. A compilation emerged that contained a few translated Aesop’s fables along with letters of Luther’s to his friends and family.

The Many Facets of Martin Luther

The collection of letters contains in total 24 of Luther’s letters to his friends and allies, including writings to his beloved wife Katharina. The letters give some indication of sentiments of the reformer, they contain personal testimonies, warnings, and admonishments to the civil authorities. In astounding fashion, the work reveals unknown facets of the personality of the famous Augustinian monk.

Religious Application of Aesop’s Fables

As the ancient fables of Aesop were increasingly translated from Greek into other languages of the world, they were often reinterpreted for religious purposes. In the Middle Ages the fables were collected for use in church sermons. The highly educated and well-read Martin Luther translated a few chosen Aesop’s Fables himself and from these created a collection, which he read in his sermons at the beginning of the Reformation. The very same translated fables are still to be found today in the reformer’s important compilation. A few prominent personalities have owned the work, among them was the prior of the Augustinian monastery Michael Dresser, a confidant of Luther’s. In 1531 the book belonged to the Elector and Duke of Saxony, Johann Friedrich I. Four years later the work came into the possession of the count’s chancellor Kaspar Müller, with whom Luther maintained a correspondence.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Martin Luther: Briefe und Aesop-Fabeln
Size / Format
24 letters / 34.0 × 24.5 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1516–1532
Language
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Michael Dressel (acquired 1516)
John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (acquired 1531)
Kaspar Müller (acquired 1535)

Available facsimile editions:
Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables – Cod. Ott. lat. 3029 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1983
Facsimile Editions

#1 Martin Luther: Briefe und Aesop-Fabeln

Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1983
Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables – Cod. Ott. lat. 3029 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Martin Luther: Letters and Aesop's Fables – Cod. Ott. lat. 3029 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1983
Binding: Letters in linen case
Commentary: 1 volume (126 pages) by Manfred Schulze, Walter Simon, and Giovanni Morello
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Please ask for a quote!
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