Thursday, August 18, 2011

Was Martin Luther really the First to translated the Bibel into the German Vernacular ?

Was Martin Luther the First to Translate the Bibel into  vernacular ?

Ulfilas (ca. 381)
The earliest Germanic version of the Bible was Ulfilas' Gothic translation from Latin and Greek. From Ulfilas came much of the Germanic Christian vocabulary that is still in use today. Later Charlemagne (Karl der Große) would foster Frankish (Germanic) biblical translations in the 9th century. Over the years, prior to the appearance of the first printed German Bible in 1466, various German and German dialect translations of the Scriptures were published. The Augsburger Bibel of 1350 was a complete New Testament, while the Wenzel Bible (1389) contained the Old Testament in German.     

Älteste Denkmäler Der Deutschen Sprache Erhalten in Ulfilas Gothischer Bibelübersetzung (German Edition)
           by Ignaz Gaugengigl                                                   

  Ulfila explaining the Gospels to the Goths                             

                                     Ulfilas Bibel, the Earliest 
                                     translation of the bibel into a 
                                     Germanic language 350 AD.
                                     The Roman Catholic Feast Ulfilas 26. August

                                            (Click on it to enlarge)


First Printed Bible in German (1466)
Before Martin Luther was even born, a German-language Bible was published in 1466, using Gutenberg's invention. Known as the Mentel Bible, this Bibel was a literal translation of the Latin Vulgate. Printed in Strassburg, the Mentel Bible appeared in some 18 editions until it was replaced by Luther's new translation in 1522.
source :  

 The first bible in what can be considered more

or less modern German was the Gutenberg Bible


also other Vernacular Translations happend in other places such as:
1500 The first Spanish Bible.

1506 Jacobus Sacon of Lyons, France                 prints his first edition of the Latin Bible.         

1512 Epistles and Gospels published in             Spanish by Ambrose de Montesian

1514 -18 First Polyglot Bible, Cardinal                  Ximenes' Complutensian Polyglot;                Printed at Alcala de Henares by De            Brocar;  contains only noble style of Greek employed between the invention of printing and recent times; contains first Hebrew Bible           published by Christians, and first           separately printed Greek New                 Testament.

1515 Latin translation 'after the Hebrew' of the Psalter by Felix Pratensis.  (additional info courtesy Dick Wursten of Antwerp, Belgium)

1516 First Polyglot portion of Bible, the Genoa Psalterium (Book of Psalms)

1516 Desiderius Erasmus' (1466-1536) first Greek New Testament.  Printed and published by Froben in Basel; said to have had greater influence on Tyndale than either the Vulgate or Luther.

1517 First Biblia Rabbinica (Venice), printed by Daniel Bomberg, and included the Targum and other traditional explanations.

1518 First separate complete Greek Bible, printed and published in Venice by Aldus Manutius, being the Greek text of the Septuagint, translated by Erasmus.

1522 Latin Paraphrase New Testament (Erasmus)

1522 First Dutch New Testament

1522 Wolff's  Bibliorum

1522 Martin Luther (Wittenberg)

                                   (click on it to see details)               Dutch Old Testament.
                             Delft: Jacob Jacobszoon van der Meer and Mauricius Yemantszoon, 10 January 1477.
The first book printed at Delft, this two-volume Old Testament was the first edition of any part of the Bible in Dutch. Its text was based on a fourteenth-century translation. The hand-written annotations were added in 1477 by the original owner, Cornelius Aernoldszoon, a member of the Brethren of the Common Life who resided at Eemsteyn, near Dordrecht.

Pre-Lutheran German Bibles

Page from the Wenzel Bible
There are still approximately 1,000 manuscripts or manuscript fragments of Medieval German Bible translations extant. The earliest known and partly still available Germanic version of the Bible was the fourth century Gothictranslation of Wulfila (ca. 311-380). This version, translated primarily from the Greek, established much of the Germanic Christian vocabulary that is still in use today. Later Charlemagne promoted Frankish biblical translations in the 9th century. There were Bible translations present in manuscript form at a considerable scale already in the thirteenth and the fourteenth century (e.g. theNew Testament in the Augsburger Bible of 1350 and the Old Testament in theWenceslaus or Wenzel Bible of 1389). There is ample evidence for the general use of the entire vernacular German Bible in the fifteenth century. In 1466, before Martin Luther was even born, Johannes Mentelin printed the Mentel Bible, a High German vernacular Bible, at Strasbourg. This edition was based on a no-longer-existing fourteenth-century manuscript translation of the Vulgatefrom the area of Nuremberg. Until 1518, it was reprinted at least 13 times. In 1478-1479, two Low German Bible editions were published in Cologne, one in the Niederrheinish dialect or West-Westphalian language and another in the Lower Saxon dialect or East-Westphalian language. In 1494, another Low German Bible was published in the Holsteinisch dialect of Lübeck, and in 1522, the last pre-Lutheran Bible, the Low German or Franconian language Halberstaedter Bible was published. In total, there were at least eighteen complete German Bible editions, ninety editions in the vernacular of the Gospels and the readings of the Sundays and Holy Days, and some fourteen German Psalters by the time Luther first published his own New Testament translation.

Needles to say all the people above Translating 
the Bibel where Catholics.

Gutenberg  printed the first Bible in 1455  The Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther followed 50 + years later.

Saint Jerome translator of the first bibel from Hebrew to
Latin (so that people of the 8 Century could read it ) Famously said

'Ignorance of the scriptures,is ignorance of Christ'                

[painting of Saint Jerome]

Also known as
  • Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius
  • Girolamo
  • Hieronymus
  • Man of the Bible

Born to a rich pagan family, he led a misspent youthStudied inRomeLawyerConverted in theory, and baptised in 365

St. Jerome<br>Doctor of the Church
May true the Intercession of

Saint Jerome..

we be Vigilant in Prayer and gain

true and enlightened understanding

of  the Holly 


St. Jerome
Doctor of the Church     Pray for us

A portion of St. Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate, 
to Pope St. Damasus I.( Bishop of Rome from 366 to 384 )
 It is the preface of the Latin translations of the Gospels in Vulgate. The Latina Vulgata is the first Bible translated and collected in One Language - Latin, the most spoken language of those time.

To the blessed Pope Damasus,  from Jerome,

You urge me to make a new work from the old, and that I might sit as a kind of judge over the versions of Scripture dispersed throughout the whole world, and that I might resolve which among such vary, and which of these they may be which truly agree with the Greek. ...    ...  after the Seventy Translators, or to pour out revisions in the New; with the Scriptures previously translated into the languages of many nations...

Therefore, this present little preface promises only the four Gospels, the order of which is Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, revised in comparison with only old Greek books. They do not disagree with many familiar Latin readings, as we have kept our pen in control.

I wish that in Christ you may be well, and that you will remember me, most blessed Pope.


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