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About the LSTC Rare Book Collections

by Ralph W. Klein

There are more than 300 books from the 15th to 18th centuries in the LSTC Rare Book Collections, with the vast majority coming from the holdings of L. Franklin Gruber (1870-1941), the former president of the Maywood seminary. The works fall into the following categories: works written by Luther himself (about 80) and original copies of several of his letters; copies of Luther’s Bible translations from 1522-1534; works, including original letters, by Phillip Melanchthon; other Reformation era documents; Lutheran confessions of the 16th century; pre-Reformation Bibles; and English Bibles of the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, there are fourteen Greek New Testament manuscripts from the 9th to the 13th centuries.

Each of these manuscripts documents an important moment in our Lutheran cultural and theological legacy, with these stellar highlights: The Theologia Germanica, Luther’s first publication in 1516; a copy of the 95 theses from 1517; Luther’s translation of the New Testament published in 1522 (the September and December Testaments); Erasmus’s 2nd edition of the Greek New Testament, 1519, which was the basis for Luther’s translation; Luther’s publication of the entire Bible in 1534, containing 128 woodcuts that have been hand colored by a later artist; original editions of the Large Catechism 1529, Augsburg Confession 1530, the Apology 1531, and the Book of Concord of 1580; the first Lutheran hymnal of 1524; Pope Leo X’s accusation of errors against Luther; Luther’s 1520 essays on the Freedom of the Christian, the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and the Address to the Christian Nobility; Henry VIII’s defense of the seven-sacrament system; the King James Bible of 1611; and the Saur Bible, the first Bible published in the United States in 1743, 1763, and 1776.

This website containing pictures and descriptions of all of these works is being developed by Ralph W. Klein. Individuals or groups that would like to see these books in person should contact Professor Klein (rklein@lstc.edu).

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