This volume forms part of Martin Luther’s complete works, which collectively had a profound impact on the German Reformation. Published around the time of his death, the collection displays the range of genres Luther adopted: Biblical translation and commentary, sermons and catechisms, and polemics against the Catholic Church. In contrast to his seminal Bible translation and many of the controversial tracts printed during his lifetime, the texts in this imposing collection are in Latin rather than German. These volumes were produced by a number of printers, including Hans Lufft, whose trade in Lutheran Bibles made him the richest man in Wittenberg.
With unintentional irony, Luther’s diatribes on the Catholic Church were bound in pages of text and music from a dismembered monastic manuscript. This common binding practice was both economical and practical, as parchment was valued as a tough material. The hole in this binding is not a sign of neglect by its owners, but a flaw which dates back to the parchment’s preparation. This is shown by how the medieval scribe has carefully written around the tear and even tried to sew it together: although the thread has disappeared, the puncture holes of the needle are still visible.
Emma Sillett (Library Assistant)
Sources and further reading:
- Catalogue record on SOLO
- Cole, Richard G. (1984) “Reformation Printers: Unsung Heroes”, The Sixteenth Century Journal 15(3) 327–339
- Kwakkel , Erik (2014) “The Skinny on Bad Parchment”, Medieval Books [blog], http://medievalbooks.nl/2014/10/24/feeling-good-about-bad-skin/, 24 October 2014
After two years, this blog is taking a break from monthly books. See all 24 books displayed at https://jesuslibraries.wordpress.com/category/book-of-the-month/