Which Book of Concord do you use?
All this discussion about Book of Concord editions have led several of you to ask me, "So, which edition of the Book of Concord do you use?" That’s easy enough to answer: all of them!
Obviously, my favorite edition is Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. It is my "default" edition that is at my desk. For more scholarly purposes, I use the Triglotta edition, which provides the Latin and German of the respective 1580 and 1584 editions of the Book of Concord, with a translation that, though it has a few problems here and there, is very faithful to the original languages. The English translation of the Triglotta is available on my other web site, along with Bente’s Historical Introductions. I use the German critical edition, the Bekenntnisschriften, particularly for the wealth of footnotes and helps it contains, even though it is not providing, necessarily, the texts of the Lutheran Confessions as they appear in the actual two editions of the Book of Concord. I have also enjoyed very much turning to the Lutheran Legacy web site to use the scan they have there of a 1580 Dresden edition. I like the Tappert edition because it is the one I used to study the Confessions in college and seminary more than any other. I like the Kolb-Wengert edition because it offers the second edition of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, and many useful footnotes and annotations. The notes on the Formula are particularly interesting, although one must be aware of a good bit of historical revisionism reflected in them, for instance the use of the phrase "crypto-Philipist." There was nothing "crypto" or "secret" about Melanchthonianism. The older and more accurate phrase, "crypto-Calvinist" continues to serve well. However, in regard to both Tappert and K/W, as I’ve pointed out, and as have I learned over the past several years, neither of them offer a text of the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord. K/W suffers, unfortunately, from the imposition of the gender-neutral language agenda by Augsburg-Fortress. I have both the first and second editions of the Jacobs edition. The second edition in 1911 contains the better translation of the Augsburg Confession. I If you can get your hands on the original first edition Jacobs, the second volume provides many documents referred to, or underlying, the Lutheran Confessions. The Henkel edition of the Book of Concord remain, to this day, the only English translation of the entire 1580 German edition of the Book of Concord. The 1854, second edition, is better than the first. I have both and use the 1854 edition more often when comparing translations. You can read both of the Henkel editions on the Lutheran Legacy web site. Used appropriately, all these editions are helpful and we can be grateful for all of them.
I have each English edition on the computer so it is easy to move around in them. The more the merrier, I say, so happy reading!