Luther's First German Old Testament
Das Allte Testament deutsch. Translated by Martin Luther.
Wittenberg: [Melchior Lotther for Lucas Cranach and Christian Döring], 1523-24. (Prothro B-21)
The Prothro Collection includes two of the most important editions translated by Martin Luther (1483–1546). Although twelve editions of an old German translation of the Vulgate had been printed during the fifteenth century, Luther’s translation of the original scriptures into the German of the people played a major role in the spread of the Reformation. Immediately after the highly successful publication of his German New Testament in 1522, Luther then began to translate the Old Testament. Although his knowledge of Hebrew was not great, Luther was able to rely on the advice of several Hebrew scholars, including the young Wittenberg reformer, Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), as well as the literal exegesis of the scriptures found in the Postillae of Nicholas of Lyra (c. 1270–1349). The first edition of Luther’s Old Testament contains full-page woodcut illustrations by Lucas Cranach the Elder, one of Germany’s leading artists.