Martin Luther - The 1534 Bible

Martin Luther - The 1534 Bible Facsimile Edition

Wittenberg (Germany) — 1534

Saved undamaged from a massive fire in 2004: the most valuable surviving copy of the complete Luther Bible, magnificently adorned with 128 colored woodcuts, some from the hand of Lucas Cranach the Elder

  1. The vernacular translation of the Bible by Martin Luther (1483–1546) forms the foundation of New High German

  2. It was completed in 1534 and quickly spread thanks to the recent invention of the printing press

  3. Opaque blue, green, and red paint was used to color the woodcuts, some of which were illuminated with gold

Martin Luther - The 1534 Bible

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Martin Luther - The 1534 Bible

Although by no means the first translation of the Bible into German, Martin Luther drew from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew sources in order to create a translation in the language of the modern people. He did this by spending time in nearby towns and markets listening to people speak with one another. Combined with the recent invention of the printing press, the Luther Bible made waves across Europe and inspired other theologians to make vernacular translations of their own. The result was a model for the development of New High German. This cultural treasure from the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, the highlight of its prestigious collections, is the most precious and artful of the 60 surviving copies of the first complete edition of the Luther Bible, which was published in 1534. What sets it apart is the quality of its 128 woodcuts, which have been painted with deep shades of blue, green, and red as well as being occasionally illuminated with gold. 28 of the woodcuts originated from the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder and some of those decorated with gold are even said to have been made by Cranach himself. Thankfully, this gem was saved from destruction when the library caught fire and remains undamaged today.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Martin Luther - Die Bibel von 1534
Size / Format
1674 pages / 31.5 x 21.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1534
Language
Illustrations
128 woodcuts and historiated initials
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Detail Picture

Martin Luther’s 1534 Bible

The Imprisonment of Jeremiah

After prophesying that Jerusalem would fall to the Babylonians, the already unpopular Jeremiah is cast into a cistern and left to die. Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, one of King Zedekiah’s eunuchs, makes an appeal on the prophet’s behalf and changes the King’s mind, who orders Ebed-Melech to take 30 men and some rope to retrieve Jeremiah, but it does not save Jerusalem from destruction. Today, “Jeremiad” is used to describe a work prophesying the downfall of a society because of some moral failure.

Biblia, das ist, die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch
Single Page

Martin Luther’s 1534 Bible

The Second and Third Trumpets

In the upper register, sailors in carracks, some seemingly shaking their fists at the second angel, reel from the impact of a massive meteor. It is described as “something like a great mountain burning with fire”, which turns a third of the sea to blood (depicted on the left), kills a third of the sea creatures, and destroys a third of the ships. (Rev. 8:8–9).

Below, similar events occur on land as the bodies of richly dressed villagers litter the ground. “Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.” (Rev. 8:10–11)

Biblia, das ist, die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch
Facsimile Editions

#1 Biblia, das ist, die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch

Martin Luther - The 1534 Bible – Cl I: 58 (b) und (c)  – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Martin Luther - The 1534 Bible – Cl I: 58 (b) und (c) – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Limited Edition: 500 copies
Binding: Slipcase
Commentary: 1 supplement by Stephan Füssel
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Canvas cover; Old and New Testament each in a separate volume
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