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The Preparation and Printing of the First Edition of the Book of Concord

February 24th, 2010
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My colleagues here at Concordia Publishing House, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes and Rev. Charles Schaum, prepared a translation of several pages from the Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, the critical edition of the Lutheran Confessions, which deal with the preparation and printing of the first edition of the Book of Concord. I thought you might enjoy reading it, assuming you are a BOC geek like us.

The Text History of the First Edition of the Book of Concord

Translated by Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes and Rev. Charles Schaum from the Introduction to the Formula of Concord in the BSLK

The German Book of Concord (Konkordienbuch; abbreviated Konk.) was typeset probably starting in the summer of 1578 in the Dresden printing works of Matthes Stöckel and Gimel Bergen in the extent determined by the introduction to the FC [Formula of Concord].[i] They began with the FC. Andreae had the chief supervision and committed the proof-reading to Master Peter Glaser and Caspar Fuger from the Ministerium of Holy Cross Church [in Dresden] (Kreuzkirche). Glaser also prepared the index.[ii] On April 12, 1579 the printing was completed except for the title page, Preface, Catalog of Testimonies, and the list of signatories. A copy was immediately furnished for Chemnitz. On August 19, Secretary Elias Vogel permitted three copies to be bound by Jakob Krause, probably for the Electors.

Andreae had pushed on May 22 for an expedited printing of the Preface[iii] together with the title page, but only after the Heidelberg Recess[iv] did [Chancellor] Haubold von Einsiedel give the command for them to be typeset (August 9) and order 140 copies from Vögelin,[v] i.e., in Leipzig (August 13). Presumably the order was adhered to, since on August 23 the Elector commanded the printing of twenty copies that were to be sent with the same number of manuscript copies for the purposes of subscribing to them. This was carried out on September 26.

The list of signatories was not yet completed toward the end of March 1580. “Through the mercy of God” Andreae pleaded for the submission of subscriptions from Wolfenbüttel.[vi] Already in April incomplete copies (according to Andreae) were brought to the book fair in Leipzig. According to others, they were without the title and perhaps sold in small quantity. They were then subsequently withdrawn from circulation, but a Magdeburg paper salesman, Thomas Frantz, had already initiated a private reprint at the beginning of May.

After Elector Ludwig of the Palatinate made his final decision to join (June 13, 1580), the title page (see below), Preface, and Catalog of Testimonies[vii] had to be reprinted. The same occurred during the printing of at least two other signatures[viii] at the instigation of Chemnitz and Andreae. Nevertheless the printer reintroduced in haphazard[ix] fashion the signatures that had been excluded, and even the old title page, which was first noticed by Elector Ludwig. Aside from other aberrations, even in the list of the signatories, this was also observed with embarrassment (and the printer was fined 200 Gulden) when the three originalia, that is, the “authentica,” [the authoritative copies] were set aside in the electoral chanceries according to a suggestion of Elector Ludwig on June 13, 1580.

On this occasion [of dealing with the authentica] the question of the Marriage Booklet and Baptismal Booklet led to prolonged negotiations.[x] They were first included in keeping with their usual connect

ion with the Small Catechism (according to Andreae as a result of an error by the proofreaders) but then Andreae removed them again, since [they are] a part of church order but not of doctrine. This material, likewise, was not removed entirely, as Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel soon noticed. At the examination of the three planned authentica, Elector Johann Georg [of Brandenburg] wanted to have the Small Catechism “without truncation,” as did the churches of Lower Saxony, whereas the other two Electors had misgivings due to the position of the southern Germans regarding exorcism. Chemnitz suggested that they choose for the three originalia the Heidelberg printing of 1582, in which the Marriage Booklet and Baptismal Booklet are absent, leave Elector Johann Georg free to include these pieces, and subscribe to all three copies with a special explanation regarding this decision. Finally, in 1583, Elector Ludwig signed a copy without the Marriage Booklet and Baptismal Booklet and without any explanation. On the recommendation of Chemnitz, the Dresden Konkordienbuch was organized so that the Marriage Booklet and Baptismal Booklet should be offered separately. The place where they would have been was to be indicated by enumerating the page count 169, 170, 171, 172, 173 on the last page of the Small Catechism. Alongside of that, copies were also issued in which the Marriage Booklet and Baptismal Booklet were absent and any indication [of where they should have been] was also missing. Resulting from the multiple changes during the printing, also in the title and final pages of the FC, the ability to ascertain the sequence of different editions of the Dresden Konkordienbuch in 1580, in spite of astute attempts,[xi] has led to speculation—two, four, six, or seven editions—of which the paucity in extent of the material under scrutiny has deprived it of support. The assumption of two complete editions in the year 1580, in any case, has some probability, especially since Andreae was counting on the opportunity to make later improvements and additions to the list of signatories (Electoral Palatinate), as well as through the inclusion of a list of corrigenda (=Cor) in a few copies of the Dresden 1580 Konkordienbuch. The later editions are covered by [Theodor] Kolde, Einleitung, LXXV f.

IV. The Title Page of Konk. according to its first published version, which was together with the first printing of the introduction (=A), reads as follows:

Formula of Concord

that is:


Salutary, Pure

Agreement, in which the Divine

Doctrine of the most Preeminent Articles of our True

Religion, from Holy Scripture, into Short Confessions or Symbols and

Doctrinal Writings, which Already Previous to this Time by the

Churches of God of the Augsburg Confession

were Accepted and Approved, are Composed.

Together with a Steadfast, Well-grounded in God’s Word, Right,

Final Repetition, Explanation, and Resolution of that

Conflict, which Among Some Theologians who

Confess the abovementioned Confession has occurred.

Everything According to the Content of Holy Scripture, as the Sole Straightedge

of Divine Truth, and According to the Instruction of the Aforementioned Writings

that are Approved in the Church of God.

At the Most Merciful, Gracious, and Opportune

Command, Prescription, and Consent

of the Listed Christian Electors, Princes, and Estates of the

Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, of the

the Augsburg Confession, for the Comfort and Well-being of their Lands, Churches, Schools, and Descendants

prepared in Print.

With the Dispensation of His Electoral Grace of Saxony.

Dresden, 1579.[xii]

A marginal notation was added by Andreae in a modified copy: “This title was changed, as was counseled in Dessau.”

The title seems to have been changed on various occasions, even already at Dessau, November 1579. These intermediate drafts could not be found, only references to them. It received its final form almost entirely through Elector Ludwig, who was quite agitated about those changes during the course of the dispute over the final form of the Preface.[xiii]

V. Translations of the FC: 1. Latin. Already in Bergen, Chytraeus had offered to do a Latin translation, as did Selneccer, who reported: “But our offer inevitably came to naught, and Doctor Jakob [Andreae] wanted it to be translated into Latin in Swabia. And it was so.” On April 12, 1579, Andreae reported to the Electors that he had received the translation produced by his brother-in-law Lucas Osiander with presumably considerable participation of Jacob Heerbrand.[xiv] A copy went to Chemnitz, who reworked it considerably—presumably ms. St. At the same time, Andreae advised that it be printed as soon as possible and in January 1580 requested the Latin edition of the AC and Apology of 1531 for this purpose.

Chancellor Haubold von Einsiedel commissioned Selneccer’s deacon, Master Simon Gedick with the direction of the printing that was committed to Johannes Steinmann in Leipzig. With the result, the Latin Book of Concord (Conc.) of 1580, Selneccer only was willing to be involved in the completion of an ad hoc translation of the Schmalkald Articles and the preparation of the Greek citations in the Catalog of Testimonies. At the request of Andreae the list of signatories was also included. This document, previously designated the “private edition of Selneccer,” was sharply criticized. An approximately simultaneous printing undertaken in Tübingen appeared to grind to a halt due to defects in the text. Because of all this, in July 1581 Selneccer, who on his part had heavily censured the Swabian translation, asked the electoral prince for a six-week leave of absence to work out a new translation. That result was supposed to appear in his German-Latin edition of 1582; it was unsatisfactory. Thus it was that the final, universally accepted [Latin] wording of Conc. 1584[xv] was established at Quedlinburg in January 1583, likely on the basis of Conc. 1580, keeping in mind the recommendations made by Chemnitz [on the Swabian text]. This edition went without the list of subscribers; it presents a revision of the version of 1580, a revision that again changes the edition of 1582. For Selneccer this was not the last; he seemed to have viewed the translation as his property, as a school edition of 1598 shows.[xvi]

2. A French translation was signed in Mömpelgart [Montbéliard] and sent to Dresden. It was supposed to be printed in Tübingen; perhaps it got lost in the process.

3. A Wendish [Sorbian] translation by Primus Truber was given over to the Württemberg Church Council (Kirchenrat) in June 1580; it seems not to have survived.

4. A Czech version, probably in the great translation works of the Count of Hardeck, seems to have been started by a Pastor (?) Sigmund Buchhaver of Leonberg.

5. “Martinus Crusius has translated the Formula of Concord into Greek and, as he writes [to me], it has received favorable consideration by the Greek churches, for he is supposed to have received regarding the matter Greek letters from Constantinople.”[xvii]

6. A Spanish edition [appeared] from the pastor in Eberdingen, Master Theophil Breu.

7. A Hungarian translation [appeared] yet in the sixteenth century.

VI. Concerning the Printing of the Text:[xviii] The FC [is printed] according to the original writing of Andreae (A) with the variants of the accessible manuscripts, which, in part,coalesce clearly into three textual groups, of which one (H) points toward Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, and [according to] those of Konk. 1580 and—due to the three authenticaKonk. Heidelberg 1582. Additionally there are the most important lists of corrigenda. In Latin, [it is printed] according to Conc. 1584 with the most important variants of Conc. 1580 and occasionally those of St, which is possibly the version of Osiander and Chemnitz.

The Preface [is printed] according to the version of the Heidelberg Recess and the variants produced by the development and changes made in progression up to Konk. The Latin text is according to Conc. 1584 with variants of Conc. 1580; the editing of the subscriptions comes from Dr. H. Volz.

The Catalog of Testimonies [is printed] according to Konk. 1580 and Conc. 1584.

[i] See BSLK 838, note 1.

[ii] Register. [Words appear bold that occur in German Sperrdruck.]

[iii] Praefatio

[iv] Heidelberger Abschied. [This refers to a point in the negotiations at which a legal decision or conclusion was made, allowing the process to move forward.]

[v] [Vögelin had also circulated ironically the so-called Exegesis Perspicua that harmed the Philippists by unmasking their Crypto-Calvinism.]

[vi] [Wolfenbüttel did not subscribe to the FC.]

[vii] See BSLK 1101, note 1.

[viii] t = folios 240–245 because of the “pudendum erratum,” see BSLK 789, note 1; and AA = folios 266–271 due to the alignment of the citations, see BSLK 884, note 1. [A signature (Bogen) results from folding and cutting the sheet on which multiple pages are simultaneously printed. One, (folio), two (quarto) or three (octavo) folds result in four, eight or sixteen pages. The term folio can also refer to a page, as used in the text.]

[ix] verstreut

[x] See Hutterus 1362–74. [The reference is to Leonhard Hutter’s Concordia concors, Wittenberg, 1622, reprinted in Frankfurt/Main and Leipzig 1690.]

[xi] Balthasar, Historie [des Torgischen Buchs] I 31f, III 70; Verteidigung zweier im Concordienbuch angefochtener Wörter, 1754, 8f.; Feuerlin, Biblioteca symbolica evang. lutheran., Göttingen, 1752, 9–11; Planck VI 680, Anm.; S. Baumgarten, Vorrede zum Concordienbuch 9f.; Anton II 7; Heppe [Geschichte der lutherischen Concordienformel und Concordie] IV 223.

[xii] Formula Concordiae || Das ist: || Christliche / || Heilsame / Reine || Vergleichunge/ in welcher dir Gött-||liche Leer von den vornembsten Symbola vnd || Leerhaffte Schrifften /: welche allbereit vor dieser zeit von den || Kirchen Gottes Augspurgischer Confeßion / angenommen || vnd approbirt: / vorfasset. || Sampt klerung vnd entscheidung deren || Streit / welche vnder etlichen Theologen / so sich zu ermelter || Confession bekant / fürgefallen. || Alles nach inhalt der heiligen Schrifft / als der einigen Richtschnur || der Göttlichen warheit / vnd nach anleitung obgemelter in der Kir-||chen Gottes / approbierten Schrifften. || Auff gnedigsten / genedigen auch gün-||stigen beuehl / verordnung vnd einwilligung nach || beschriebener Christlichen Churfürsten / Fürsten vnd Stende des || heiligen Römischen Reichs Deutscher Nation / Augspurgischer Con-||feßion / derselben Landen / Kirchen / Schulen vnd Nach=||kommen zum Trost vnd besten in Druck || vorgefertigt. || Mit Churf. G. zu Sachsen befreihung. || Dreßden M. D. LXXIX.

[xiii] For the details see Pressel, Kurfürst Ludwig, 565, 567, 570f., 582, 587f.

[xiv] ZKG XIX 1899, 470f.

[xv] Lips[iae], Georg Defner. [Lipsia is Latin for Leipzig, so the citation means “in Leipzig, by the printer Georg Defner.”]

[xvi] Ex forma Christianae Concordia Declaratio Articulorum, etc.

[xvii] Hauptst. Arch. Dresden 10 303 Concordia III.

[xviii] The subsequent information appears to refer specifically to BSLK.

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  1. February 24th, 2010 at 07:57 | #1

    Very exciting stuff! I will look forward to it!

  2. February 24th, 2010 at 09:18 | #2

    Notice that the BSLK does not use the Dresden 1580 Book of Concord for its base German text of the Formula of Concord. You can find Dresden 1580, but you have to look in the textual variants at the bottom of the page.

    • February 24th, 2010 at 12:23 | #3

      Dr. Mayes, thank you for this extremely important observation.

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