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Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Luther's public library" (St. Louis Edition - Missouri Synod)

Dr. Pieper reported in Concordia Theological Monthly (CTM, vol. 2, pgs 309-312) in 1931 of events in Germany concerning Luther's writings and publishings there.  One pastor (P. Ernst Herrmann-Eßlingen) caught Pieper's eye by saying "Back to Luther!" again.  How Pieper rejoiced.  But at the same time other voices in Germany reported that there was a general misunderstanding of Luther because his language had been reduced through modernizing and re-translation.  To this Pieper responded:
We ask: Is it really true that our Christian people no longer understand Luther's German, as Wolfgang Metzger claimed? We have the contrary experience. The Missouri Synod has almost as long as it exists, "Luther's public library," "to the use and benefit of the Lutheran Christian people selected complete writings of Dr. Martin Luther unchanged and reprinted with the necessary explanatory notes," in thirty volumes. Our brethren in the Free Church of Saxony and other States have probably a hundred "Luther notebooks" with brief remarks, but also with the unaltered text of Luther. And as well as we in our “Luther's public library” like them in their “Luther-notebooks”, Luther's German is understood by our Lutheran Christian people. We know this from experience.
Yes, there are other publications of Luther than the Missouri Synod's St. Louis Edition, most notably the Weimar Ausgabe from Germany.  The modern LC-MS hardly even mentions the old Missouri's St. Louis Edition (or "Luther public library") in their English translation of Luther in Luther's Works series.  But it was the St. Louis Edition (in German language) that followed Luther faithfully in it's comments and background information because Luther can only be understood spiritually, by faith.  This the St. Louis 
Edition did.  And I will say along with Dr. Pieper: "We know this from experience."


  1. I would like to know more about the St. Louis edition.

    1. Mr. Raffel:
      Without specifics in your request, perhaps you could type the following in the search box and you will find about 30 of my blog posts at least mention it:
      "St. Louis Edition" (include the quote marks)
      Hope this helps... let me know if you have a more specific question.


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