Vernacular Bibles Criticism: The German Bible - Essay

Wilhelm Scherer (essay date 1885)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Scherer, Wilhelm. “Martin Luther.” In A History of German Literature, translated by F. C. Conybeare, edited by F. Max Müller, vol. 1, pp. 272-82. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903.

[In the following excerpt from an English translation of his 1885 survey of German literature, Scherer identifies Martin Luther's translation of the Bible as the foundation of modern German prose, remarking that the earliest German grammarians based their observations on Luther's idiom.]

It was Martin Luther who created the Reformation in Germany; his mind and his will determined the character of the whole movement. The numerous remarkable men whom the New Learning had formed, and...

(The entire section is 3550 words.)

Ernst Rose (essay date 1960)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Rose, Ernst. “The Reformation.” In A History of German Literature, pp. 95-104. New York: New York University Press, 1969.

[In the following excerpt from his history of German literature, originally published in 1960, Rose discusses the historical context of Martin Luther's work as translator of the Bible, asserting that Luther was the first German translator to work with the complete text of the Bible. According to Rose, Luther successfully rendered the Bible into an idiom which all speakers of German could understand.]

The Church as an actual institution is merely the external organization of the invisible community of believers united by their faith in Christ. It...

(The entire section is 8546 words.)

Jane O. Newman (essay date 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Newman, Jane O. “The Word Made Print: Luther's 1522 New Testament in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Representations (Summer 1985): 95-113.

[In the following essay, Newman discusses the epoch-making role of printing in the dissemination of the German Bible.]

In a letter written in 1556, a Reformed citizen of the Swiss town of Zug describes the events that led to the mass burning of Bibles that occurred in his town in that year.1 The townspeople were divided, according to the letter writer, between those who read “the Gospel, the pure teaching, the word of God” with great enthusiasm for themselves, and those of the “papist” persuasion...

(The entire section is 17556 words.)