Big Bang Luther? Reformers and Bible translations before Martin Luther

TU Ilmenau Citizens' Campus

Topic:       Big Bang Luther? Reformers and Bible Translations before Martin Luther

Speaker:  Dr. Kai Lehmann, Historian, Director of the Museum Schloss Wilhelmsburg Schmalkalden

Time:        Friday, 17.03.2023, 3:00 p.m.

Place:      TU Ilmenau,Faradaybau, Weimarer Straße 32

Admission: 5 Euro


Big Bang Luther? One could almost think that the small, cheeky Augustinian monk Martin Luther suddenly appeared on the world stage of religion and single-handedly changed the world with his 95 theses. Dr. Kai Lehmann, historian and director of the Wilhelmsburg Castle Museum in Schmalkalden, argues otherwise. Luther's ideas and principles are hundreds of years older, he says. Neither his teachings nor his Bible translation were revolutionary in themselves. Before Luther's September Testament, the first printing of his translation of the Greek New Testament into German in 1522, there were no fewer than 18 printed Bibles in the German language, the first almost 50 years before Luther's theses.

In his lecture at the TU IlmenauCitizens' Campus, Dr. Kai Lehmann takes a close look at these 18 Bible translations and printings before Martin Luther. And he presents the reformers before Martin Luther and their teachings in detail. At the same time, Lehmann explains why Luther, in contrast to many other "pre-Reformers," survived the times and why his Bible translation precisely did not become the 19th footnote in the history of religion.

From a linguistic point of view, Luther went completely different ways than the translators before him. They translated the Bible word for word into German - but he literally looked his contemporaries in the mouth and used the language of the people.Lehmann's thesis: we speak and write the way we do today because Martin Luther translated the Bible into early New High German the way he did.



Dr. Uwe Geishendorf
Central Institute for Education
+49 3677 69-4675