Monday, November 06, 2006

Martin Luther's Letters...The Rare 1908 Version Surfaces On-Line

I have an ever-increasing collection of books by or about Martin Luther. Recently in an antique store in West Virginia, I purchased an 1837 edition of Luther’s Commentary on Galatians. I also have a growing collection of books about Martin Luther by Roman Catholics, many of which also date from the 1800’s. I’m also fond of books written by Lutherans from the 1800’s and early 1900’s about Luther.

Like any book collector, I do have a “wish list” of books I look for. Some of them I track down via the Internet, but most of the time I don’t purchase them because the price is simply too much. The “Dutch” in me takes over, and I can’t justify spending $100 or $200 on a book.

One such book that I’ve sought out over the years is Martin Luther’s Letters by Margaret A. Currie (London, 1908). Now some of you may be familiar with the volumes of letters in Luther’s Works, or the book by Preserved Smith, The Life and Letters of Martin Luther. This book is different, and pre-dates these. Every so often I can find a used copy on-line for a lot of money. It usually costs too much for me- so it simply sits on my wish list, year after year.

Well, the Internet never ceases to amaze me. While updating the links on my sidebar I actually found an on-line version of Martin Luther’s Letters by Margaret A. Currie. The site that hosts it seems a bit wacky- but I guess you gotta be in order to scan in 352 pages, and then hyperlink every 10th word. I will in no way vouch for the content on the site, but I do have a fair level of certainty that the text actually is Martin Luther’s Letters by Margaret A. Currie (London, 1908).

The links for this book are as follows:

Opening Page


Martin Luther’s Letters


Some of you probably don't realize that Luther's writings exist in various forms. Take for instance Luther's Tabletalk. There are many versions of the Tabletalk, and some are very different than the current edition. The same can be said about Luther's letters. There are more than a few books of Luther's letters, and these all have different content. Also, Preserved Smith, who wrote The Life and Letters of Martin Luther, used Margaret Currie's book as a source. If you're familiar with Smith's book, you know that often Smith doesn't quote a letter in full, and also spends more time giving commentary than actually publishing Luther's letters. I'm very pleased to have a version of Currie's book because of my desire to do ad fontes research.

So, the 2 or 3 of you that have interest in Luther should save a copy of these links- who knows how long they will be up? A few months back I posted a link to W.H.T. Dau's book Luther Examined and Rexamined: A Review of Catholic Criticism and a Plea for Reevaluation. Dau's book examined false charges against Luther brought by Roman Catholics. The book has been out of print for decades- and it was available for free on-line. Last I checked, it was no longer available via the link.


Warrior Dog said...

Hi there,

I have a book on Martin Luther written by Dr. Max Lenz, and published in 1883. The type is old Germanic text and the cover is very attractive. Would this book be valuable in any way you know?

James Swan said...

Well, O don't think it would be overly valuable- you can compare it to the prices here: