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Martin Luther and His German Bible Translation

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 8 months ago

 Making Hebrew Writers Speak German 


Martin Luther's main goal in translating the Bible into German was to make God's Word available in words that men and women use in everyday speech. He recognized that "God is in every syllable. No iota [the smallest Greek letter] is in vain." Luther's translation had the effect of making Germany the first modern nation to adopt a single language over a cluster of regional dialects. Translating the New Testament was relatively easy for Luther. He only needed eleven weeks to complete his German version. The Old Testament, written in Hebrew and some Aramaic, was a different matter. With the help of friends, the task of translation took nine years! At one point he considered giving up the task. "How hard it is to make these Hebrew writers talk German," he complained. For example, sixteenth-century Germans had no knowledge of the chameleon. The closest Luther could come was the weasel. His complete German Bible, with a thoroughly revised New Testament translation, was completed in 1534. Before Luther's death in 1546 more than 750,000 copies of his various Bible translations were on the market.



American Vision P.O. Box 220, Powder Springs, GA 30127, 800-628-9460, www.americanvision.org . History Unwrapped by Gary DeMar.


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