A display is on at the John Kinder Theological Library showcases 6 rare print examples relating to Martin Luther and the Reformation which is marking its 500th anniversary this year.
The spread of the Reformation was in part facilitated by the recent invention of the printing press, which led to a growing volume of printed materials and increased the availability of the written word.
“[W]e haue great cause to geue thankes to the high providence of almighty God, for the excellent arte of Printing, most happily of late founde out, and now commonly practised euery where, to the singular benefite of Christes Churche … and especially to the furtheraunce of true Religion”—John Foxe, The whole works of W. Tyndall, John Firth, and Doct. Barnes, three worthy Martyrs, and principall teachers of this Church of England, collected and compiled in one Tome together, being before scattered & now in Print here exhibited to the Churches (London, John Day, 1573), Sig. A2r.
The Catholic Church recognised the impact of the Lutheran controversy and the rapid spread into the vernacular and on 14 May 1521, Cardinal Wolsey issued a legatine commission to all English and Welsh bishops denouncing Lutheran ‘heresies’ and commanded that it be read in every church at the time of mass (The Reformation and the book, edited by Jean-Francois Gilmont. Aldershot [England[, Ashgate, 1998, page 266-267).
“Who seeth not, that the penne of Luther, folowying after Erasmus and set forward by Printing, hath set the triple crowne so awrye on the Popes head, that is is like neuer to be set straight agayne”—John Foxe, The first volume of the ecclesiasticall history containing the actes & monuments (London, John Day, 1576), 672.
The first work of Martin Luther to be printed in England was in 1534. The Rare Books Collection at the John Kinder Theological Library houses 6 early works by Martin Luther. Come and check out the display in the library for more fascinating facts about the people behind these early print examples.
Tomus primus omnium operum reverendi patris D.M.L. [Lutheri], quae vir Dei ab anno XVII usque ad anni vicesimi aliquam partem scripsit et edidit. Ienae : Impressum in officina typographica Donati Richtzenhaini et Thomae Rebarti, 1564 (R0835)
Special and chosen sermons of D. Martin Luther, collected out of his writings and preachings for the necessary instruction and edification of such, as hunger and seeke after the perfect knowledge and inestimable glorie which is in Christ Iesu, to the comfort and saluation of their soules. Englished by VV. G. Imprinted at London : By Thomas Vautroullier dwelling in the Blacke Friers by Ludgate. Cum priuilegio,1578. (R0001)
Thirtie foure special and chosen sermons of Dr. Martin Luthers. : Discovering most clearly, excellently, and evidently to every ordinary capacity or understanding: the difference betwixt faith and workes, law and Gospel, the Christian and creature opperations, troubles and consolations, and the best way to make Christians, keep them so, and in case of relapses to recover them again by Christ the onely cure of all soule maladies. Englished by William Gace, and printed, 1581. London : Printed by Tho. Paine, and are to be sold by Francis Tyton at the three Daggers at Temple-Barre, 1649. (R0021)
Dris Martini Lutheri colloquia mensalia : or, Dr Martin Luther’s divine discourses at his table, &c. : which in his life time hee held with divers learned men (such as were Philip Melancthon, Casparus Cruciger, Justus Jonas, Paulus Eberus, Vitus Dietericus, Joannes Bugenhagen, Joannes Forsterus, and others) conteining questions and answers touching religion, and other main points of doctrine, as also many notable histories, and all sorts of learning, comforts, advises, prophesies, admonitions, directions and instructions / collected first together by Dr Antonius Lauterbach, and afterward disposed into certain common places by John Aurifaber Dr in Divinitie ; translated out of the high Germane into the English tongue, by Capt. Henrie Bell. London : Printed by William Du-Gard, dwelling in Suffolk-lane, near London-stone, 1652. (R0677) From the Trinity Methodist College collection.
A commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians : Wherein is Most Excellently set forth, The Glorious Riches of God’s Grace, and Power of the Gospel. With The Difference between the Law and the Gospel, And Strength of Faith declared ; to the joyful Comfort and Confirmation of all true Christian Believers ; Especially Such as, being inwardly afflicted and grieved in Conscience, do Hunger and Thirst For Justification in Christ Jesus: For whose Cause this Book is most chiefly translated and printed, and dedicated to the same. Written by the Famous Champion for the Faith of Christ, Dr. Martin Luther. London : Printed and sold by M. Lewis, in Paternoster-Row, near Cheapside, M. DCC. LX. . (R0800) John Kinder bookplate.
Biblia, das ist Heilige Schrift Alten und Neuen Testaments, nach der Deutschen Ubersetzung D. Martin Luther. Germantown [Pennsylvania] : Christoph Saur, 1743. Leaf Ff8, pates 227-228. (R1704)