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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Sheep Judge Their Shepherds – Walther sermon (Part 1)

I have quoted the above sermon title by C.F.W. Walther several times on my blog before (search here).  I decided to research the origin of this sermon because I wanted to know where it came from since I recently purchased a printed English translation of it from Anchor Publications (of the LCR).  Their publication gives no details of where it came from or who translated it for them, but WorldCat indicates it was "Nils C. Oesleby" back in 1951.  Given the date, I also wonder whether Oesleby was even a member of the OLC or the later LCR – groups separated from the LC-MS.

Using my handy table of Walther's works, I then linked to the Google Books page for Walther's Gospel sermons book (Amerikanisch-Lutherische Evangelien Postille), then used Google Translate to find out the German translation for this sermon title (here), then used Google Books search box for the word "Schafe" ("sheep"), and voila!  There it is... Walther's Eighth Sunday After Trinity, "Das Gericht der Schafe über ihre Hirten", beginning on page 257-262.  (Wow, look at that title page!  Those German-American Lutherans seemed to revere their Walther sermons!)

Now if the reader is somewhat familiar with Walther's works today, they may know that Concordia Publishing House recently copyrighted the English translation of Walther's sermon book that was done way back in the 1950s and 1960s by Rev. Donald E. Heck (Old Standard Gospels) and sold by Concordia Theological Seminary Press beginning in 1984.  It cost $14.40 for the whole 397-page book then.

And very recently it is being made available to purchase by CPH in a 2-volume set called Gospel Sermons, with the 2nd volume not due to come out until 2014.  This is a commendable effort!  It costs $100 (retail) for the 2-volume set. I wonder if Dr. Benjamin T. Mayes suggested publishing this sermon book of Walther?  If so, then I wonder why he said (as it was reported to me) that Walther's Pastoraltheologie will probably not be published by CPH, even if Rev. Christian Tiews finishes translating it into English?  Given this attitude by the "academic" professionals at CPH, it would be best to ignore (or even cut out as I do) all their prefaces, introductions, forewords, "endorsements", and most footnotes... like I did to my copies of the American Edition of Luther's Works.

A comparison of the English translations of the above sermon by Walther shows that the Oesleby version is not the same as Heck's translation.  So... I'm going to publish it on my website now.  See Part 2 for the Oesleby translation of Walther's sermon
The Sheep Judge Their Shepherds

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