Pieces of Our Past

November 9, 2012

Artifact: Haupt-Register über Herrn D. Mart. Lutheri Seel. Gesampte Deutsche Schrifften
(Index of the late Dr. Martin Luther’s Entire German Writings

9 x 13 x 3.5 inches

Date: 1664

Significance: Most Lutherans know about Luther’s Works, and many Lutheran scholars (and visitors to Concordia Historical Institute) have seen centuries-old sets of his writings, such as the Jena or Wittenberg editions of the 16th century. Few, however, know that CHI has an index from 1664 that serves as a cross-reference for four different editions – Wittenberg, Jena, Eisleben and Altenburg. The index is the final volume of the Altenburg edition, but it is especially significant for its cross-referencing. Each collected edition was unique, composed of different selections of Luther’s writings. Thus this index gave people the ability to find a particular title in whichever edition they had at hand.

Contents of the Index: CHI’s copy of the index has twelve chapters, though it appears that the final chapter was added to the volume in 1665. (Concordia Seminary Library at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, has two copies of this index, one with and one without the additional twelfth chapter.) Of the twelve chapters, ten are lists pertaining to the nine volumes of the Altenburg edition, while two (chapters two and twelve) serve as cross-references for the four editions mentioned above.

Below is a list of the contents:

1. A chronological index of Luther’s writings from 1516 to 1546 written in or translated into German

2. An alphabetical index of Luther’s writings and where it is found in the various editions of Luther’s works (see image on right)

3. Biblical texts that Luther explained, in Biblical order

4. An alphabetical list of proper nouns (names of people, cities, rivers, mountains)

5. Index of Luther’s writings in the order found in the Catechism

6. Explanations of the Epistle and Gospel readings of the church year

7. Hebrew words cited by Luther

8. Greek words cited by Luther

9. Latin words cited by Luther

10. An alphabetical list of the topics that cannot conveniently be brought into the following theological index

11. Theological concepts according to the Loci theologici of Johann Gerehard

12. An account is given of where the citations from the old editions are to be found in this new edition

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