After publishing the September and December 1522 translations of the New Testament, Luther began work on a translation of the Old Testament. He published the Pentateuch in 1523, Joshua-Esther and Job-Song of Solomon in 1524, and the Prophets in 1532. Finally, in 1534, he published the whole Bible including the Apocrypha. Before Luther's death Hans Lufft printed thirteen editions of this Bible, and 253 were published outside of Wittenberg! A completely revised edition appeared in 1541.
In 1534 Luther had translated Gen 1:2 "And the wind of God moved over the water," but in 1541 the text reads, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the waters." A marginal comment added: "Wind did not yet exist, and therefore this must mean the Holy Spirit." Significant texts, especially those with a comforting character, were printed in a different manner so that they can easily be located.
Translation of the title page: The Bible, that is the Entire Holy Scripture [in] German. Mart. Luth. Wittemberg. Favored with Electoral Freedom in Saxony. Printed by Hans Lufft. 1534. On one balcony is seated an old man with a halo writing in a book. In front of him hangs a parchment with the words "The Word of the Lord endures for ever." To the left are two angels with an open book, to the right is one with a closed book and another with a sealed codex, which he holds in front of the railing.
The 124 woodcut illustrations in this Bible were done by the workshop of Lucas Cranach, and in some copies they were later hand colored by other artists. The Gruber Collection contains a copy that has been colored and several that have not been colored. See list of Gruber copies of this Bible at the bottom of this page.
[in] German; See translation below.
Translation of Apocrypha title page: "These books are not held to be equal to Holy Scripture, but they are useful and good to read." The Table of Contents of the Apocrypha does not list the Prayer of Mansseh, but it is included in the text itself.
Gruber 37 Biblia, das ist die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch... Wittemberg: Hans Lufft, MDXXXIIII (1534) Woodcuts are black and white. This copy includes only Genesis-Song of Solomon.
Gruber 38a Apocrypha...D. Mart. Luther. Wittemberg, MDXXXIIII (1534)
Gruber 38 Die Propheten alle deudsch D. Mar. Luth. Wittemberg: Hans Lufft, MDXXXIIII (1534)
Gruber 60 Biblia, das ist die gantze Heilige Schrift Deudsch Mart. Luth... Wittemberg: Hans Lufft, MDXXXIIII (1534). This copy contains Genesis-Song of Solomon and the Apocrypha.
Gruber 184 Biblia, das ist die gantze heilige Schrifft Deudsch Mart. Luth. Wittemberg: Hans Lufft, MDXXXIIII (1534). Pentateuch, Joshua-Esther, Job-Song of Solomon. Stamped pigskin, with clasps. Binding dated 1598. Black and white woodcuts.
Gruber 185 Die Propheten alle Deudsch. Wittemberg: Lufft, 1534. Prophets, Apocrypha, and New Testament. This volume contains Isaiah-Malachi, the Apocrypha, and the complete New Testament.
Gruber 177 Biblia, das ist die gantze heilige Schrifft Deudsch Mart. Luth. Wittemberg: Hans Lufft, MDXXXV (1535) Pentateuch, Joshua-Esther, Job-Song of Solomon.
Gruber 61 Die Bücher Salomonis Deudsch Mart. Luther. Wittemberg, 1535. This volume contains Proverbs-Song of Solomon.
Gruber 178 Biblia das ist die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch D. Mart. Luth.... Wittemberg: Hans Lufft, MDXXXVI (1536). This volume includes both testaments and the Apocrypha.
Gruber unnumbered item Biblia, das ist die gantze Heilige Schrift.... Wittemberg: Hans Lufft MDXXXIIII 2 vols.; woodcuts are colored. Binding decorated with musical score. Volume 1 Genesis through Song of Songs; Volume 2 Prophets, Apocrypha, and New Testament.
Volume 1 Genesis through Song of Songs.
Unnumbered item: Volume 2 Prophets, Apocrypha, and New Testament.
The LSTC rare books collection also includes a facsimile copy of the 1534 Bible, that was printed at Leipzig in 1935. This facsimile copy was based on a Bible housed in the Leipzig University library.
The Gruber Collection was assembled by L. Franklin Gruber, President of Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, Maywood, Illinois.
Annotation prepared by Ralph W Klein