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The Luther Bible of 1534 [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 106.25  
Retail Value $ 125.00  
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Item Number 101336  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   1888
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 12.94" Width: 10.84" Height: 4.97"
Weight:   15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 2003
Publisher   Taschen
ISBN  3822824704  
EAN  9783822824702  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewThe most elaborate bestseller reprint in recent history has got to be Taschens Luther Bible of 1534: Complete Facsimile Edition. The owner of the original copy wanted it to be a precious, unique object, so the 117 woodcuts were illustrated in brilliant colors by a single hand. In a helpful booklet included with the two hardbound volumes, Stephan Fuessel gives a quick history in English of Martin Luther and how he rendered the Bible in vivid, poetical German. ("We do not have to ask about the literal Latin," wrote Luther, "as these asses do.") He also explains what each of the bold blue, green, red, and gold illustrated woodcuts mean. Often Luther had an angry political message: in Revelations, the most wildly illustrated book, the Whore of Babylon is not only riding a terrifying, reptilian seven-headed beast, but wearing the Popes crown; the battle of Gog and Magog and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse feature Turks. Imagine the impact these exquisite visions of flaming miracles must have had on people in 1534. Or behold these books and feel it for yourself. --Tim Appelo

Product Description
Thefirst Bible for the people
Martin Luther's Bible, first printed in 1534, was not only the first complete German publication of the Bible but also a major eventin the history of Christianity. Luther's revolutionary translation, very modernin vernacular and interpretation, made the Bible accessible to laypeople for the first time in history and gave life to a new religion: Protestantism. The Luther Bible remains the most widely used version in the Germanic world today. In commemoration of Year of the Bible (2003), TASCHEN is publishing a sumptuous reprint of this seminal book. Including both the Old and New Testaments, separated into two volumes totaling over 1800 pages, TASCHEN's complete Luther Bible has been meticulously reproduced from a rare colored copy of the original. Careful attention has been paid to Lucas Cranach's woodcuts and elaborate ornaments, which are printed in color and gold so as to be perfectly faithful to the original. Contained in a third volume is Stephan F]ssel's introduction, providing an overviewof Luther's life, a discussion of the significance of his bible, and detailed descriptions of the illustrations.

The author:
Stephan F]ssel is Director of the Institute of the History of the Book at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, and holder of the Gutenberg Chair at the same university. He is Presidentof the Willibald Pirckheimer Society for Renaissance and Humanist Studies, member of the board of the International Gutenberg Society and editor of the annual Gutenberg Jahrbuch and Pirckheimer Jahrbuch. He has published widely on early printing, on bookselling and publishing from the 18th to the 20th century, and on the future of c

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Product Categories
1Books > Foreign Language Books > German > All German Books   [4837  similar products]
2Books > Foreign Language Books > German > Arts & Photography   [2680  similar products]
3Books > Foreign Language Books > German > Nonfiction   [6862  similar products]
4Books > Foreign Language Books > German > Religion & Spirituality   [917  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Religious   [658  similar products]
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Bibles > Other   [1325  similar products]

Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Truly Beautiful Fascimile!  Nov 24, 2007
Note: Unlike the copies which the above reviewer has my volumes have no printing/pagination errors.

This two volume set is really quite amazing. I came upon them at a bookstore and didn't know anything like them was available on the market. They are really quite stunning. Firstly, the volumes are rather large and heavy. They are very quick! And they should be. The pages are nice and quick and mirror the browning of the original from which they were copied. The color in the printings however is very bright and crisp. The printing is such high quality capturing even the texture of the original pages. Even if you don't read read German these can still be marveled at as they are pieces of art prima facie.

Bible - still the best book in the world  Jul 21, 2005
This reprint of the original 1534 is a classic, especially if you can read German. Commentary is very interesting and it shows that truth is timeless.

The drawings and the make of it are exceptional.
Would recommend this as a gift to anyone who values something special.
Delightful.  Nov 11, 2004
This is a thoroughly delightful book.

One first delight is to have an integral text of an original Luther Bible.

Luther was the first to clinch the problem of an adequate rendering of the Bible in a living vernacular, as evident from his spectacular mastery of the German language, the written Standard of which he only invented as he went along. He had started with the New Testament published in 1522 and worked another 12 years to complete the entire text, published in the 1534 edition reproduced here. Luther set a most attractive stylistic model, breaking free of inadequate linguistic patterns of the source languages, in favor of a fresh and popular style in the target language. As he rebuked his incompetent critics:

"One must not ask written Latin how one should speak German, as these asses do; rather, one must ask the mother in her house, the children in the alley, the ordinary man in the marketplace, and observe how they speak, and translate accordingly; then they will understand, and they will notice that one is speaking plain German with them."

Since the English Bible corresponding to Luther's in literary importance, the King James Version [KJV] of 1611, with the establishment of English as the world language, went round the world to become its most influential book, a second delight is in the comparison now made possible to a large English speaking audience of their classic Bible with the German text.

Anybody familiar with both the early Modern English Bibles and Luther's German will wonder at their strikingly similar "ring". William Tyndale at his death in 1536 had Englished three fifths of the Bible, Miles Coverdale in 1535 compiled the first complete Bible in Modern English; these works form the basis of the KJV. The New English translations always appeared after the corresponding parts of the Luther Bible had been on the market; they deferred to Luther's stylistic ideal; their rhetorical gesture is identical, nay, the English translators often even rendered Luther's specific German wordings rather than the original Greek and Hebrew. Hence, through the transmission of of the English Bible, many German sayings from Luther's translation ended up as English near proverbs, as "the Lord is my shepherd" < "Der Herr ist mein Hirte"; "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" < "der Geist ist willig, aber das Fleisch ist schwach".

The third and main delight is in the pictures. Indeed, Luther had improved the complete text in almost yearly new editions till his last lifetime edition of 1545. Decisive for the choice of this particular 1534 copy for the facsimile reprint must have been its beauty.

The Wittenberg Luther Bible editions of the 16th century contain roughly 120 elaborate four-by-six-inches woodcuts from the Wittenberg workshop of Lucas Cranach. Only in this 1534 copy these have additionally been coloured by hand, in brilliant water colours, by a 16th century artist, probably also of Cranach's workshop, turning them into completely novel, individual works of art.

Delightful is the only epithet I can find for the depiction of the biblical subject matter. -- My favorite evangelist is the bespectacled St. Mark, earnestly writing at his desk, where the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove from above inspires him in a stream of golden rays. Mark's trademark lion stands at attention; both evangelist and lion sport magnificent halos. -- Heading the book of Jonah is a simultaneous picture of 11 Jonah-scenes; the man escapes from the fish's jaws (a giant shark, to judge by the teeth), prophesies Niniveh's downfall, and at last sits to watch from his bright green arbor, topped by a bright yellow pumpkin: the pumpkin represents an old translation error. -- King David always carries his harp, even when climbing from King Saul's daughter's window or ogling Bathsheba from his palace verandah. -- The cities have medieval architecture; the downfall of Babylon is polemically shown as a downfall of Rome; people are clothed to the latest 1532 fashion, Potiphar's wife chasing Joseph wears distinctly modern bedroom slippers: The artist had given actuality to the Bible scenes.

The 1534 edition being a first issue, the distribution of the text on the page is sometimes awkward. The folio numbering contains a few printer's errors; but, to my checking, no pages are repeated or lacking. Some woodcuts in the original book had been repeated on purpose, but the illuminator always distinguished them by the colours, thereby also multiplying indefinitely the shapes of the beautiful, large chapter initials.

One last delight is the side-effect of a recent deplorable accident, which has made this reproduction especially valuable to every owner of the 2003 book. Its original used to be kept in the Anna-Amalia-library at Weimar, the one which was ravaged by the catastrophic 2004 fire. The Bible collection of Anna Amalia's was indeed saved (thank God); but the original of this book did incur some water damage.

The present facsimile, however, preserves intact the book's original state -- is better than the original now, you might say; and, taking all this into account, can you hesitate to secure yourself a copy?
Overall Excellent and Accessible - Misprints are a problem  Jul 9, 2004
Approachable, stunningly beautiful and accessible (eso. for the price!) ... However - there are some publication problems with omissions/repeat of pages in Isaiah and Luke -- prob. wouldn't notice if you don't read German -- but bothersome (reason for 3 stars vs. 5 stars). Still, excellent quality (paper and color images), cover, and accompanying commentary. Esp. for the price (vs. more expensive Wycliffe facsimile) -- can't beat for ammature German history buffs.

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