Collecting Luther: An exhibit of early collections of the writings of Martin Luther from the Richard C. Kessler Collection

Beginning October 1 and running through December, we invite you to view a collection from Pitts Theology Library’s holdings of writings by Martin Luther.

Martin Luther was one of the most prolific Christian writers of all time. The Weimar Edition, the most recent comprehensive edition of his works, which was begun in 1883 and concluded in 2009 includes 120 volumes and ca. 80,000 pages, while an American edition of Luther’s writings translated into English was begun in 1955 and includes 69 volumes so far. However, the collection of Martin Luther’s writing began as early as 1518 when the Basel printer Johann Froben issued a collection of Martin Luther’s Latin works along with the writings of other author’s who were debating Luther’s ideas. Another collection was issued by Adam Petri in 1520, but the intended 2nd volume was never published and the the volume of Luther’s writing in subsequent years precluded others from preparing other collected editions before 1539, when the first volume of Luther’s collected German works was issued.

This exhibit includes the early collection attempts by Froben and Petri, the Latin and German portions of the Wittenberg and the Jena edition—the two major 16th century collections of the reformer’s works—as well as a first edition of Luther’s Tischreden or “Table Talk,” a collection of stories and saying by Luther collected by friends and associates.

The exhibit will be on display in the Durham Reading Room of Pitts Theology Library through December.  It is available for viewing during any of the library’s open hours.  More information about the Richard C. Kessler Collection is also available.

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