Tuesday, November 22, 2005



Das Tauff Buchlin Verdeutscht


Das Taufbuechlein Aufs Neue Zugerichtet


Wie Man Recht Und Verstaendlich Einen Menschen Zum Christen- Glauben Taufen Soll

Das Tauff Buchlin Verdeutscht Durch Mart. Luther


Very soon after the publication of the Von ordenung gottis diensts ynn der gemeine Luther issued Das Tauff Buchlin verdeutscht, The Order of Baptism translated into German. This was nothing other than a translation of the customary Roman Order used at Wittenberg at that time with but few changes. The Exorcism of the original Order was abbreviated; the Credo immediately preceding the Lord’s Prayer was omitted at this place, thus giving the Lord’s Prayer its true character, prayer: the Creed appearing later again in the questions; and instead of the Collect Deus patrum nostrorum Luther inserted the so-called Sindflutgebet.

The reasons why this Order was translated and issued, and why he did not make any radical changes in it, are stated quite explicity in the statement appended at first by Luther to the Order and later printed as a Preface.


No more could Luther remain completely satisfied with the Order of Baptism as time passed than could his friends and others who were sympathetic to the Reformation Movement. Dissatisfaction with the Order due to the espoused and thoroughly confessed Evangelical principles and to the presence of such a mass of ceremonies which only served to becloud the glory of the sacrament brought about independent efforts in revision in some localities. Some of Luther’s friends expressed opposition to the continuance of the Order in the form in which it was and hoped for a change that would not be so offensive. Nicolas Hausmann was one of the latter. At all events Luther undertook a revision, and revision it was! The result is this Order.

The revision amounted to a very thoroughgoing abbreviation of the original Order. Luther made the following changes. One can almost see him sitting with a copy of the old Order before him and marking out the changes.

The exsufflatio is omitted, although the words are retained; the two prayers, Omnipotens sempiterne dens and Deus immortale praesidium are combined to make one prayer; the giving of salt, — datio salis, — is dropped; only one of the forms of exorcism is retained, and the reason upon which the exorcism is based is omitted; the prayer, Aeternam ac justissiman pietatem is omitted; the salutation before the Gospel is omitted; the Hephata is omitted; the two anointings before and after the baptism are omitted; the placing of a lighted candle in the child’s hand is omitted; the words said when the christening robe is put on the child are omitted and the words, The Almighty God and Father, etc., substituted.

Radical changes indeed, the majority dealing with the “ceremonies.” But there were no new additions in material or any revolutionary changes in the structure!

The new Order became extremely popular. Luther appended it to the Small Catechism and it was included in many of the contemporary Church Orders.


Whether this brief Direction is a forgery or a genuine Luther writing is a question. It parallels the Baptismal Office in the Bamberg Agenda of and reveals no departures from the customary rite, so at least it is an authentic evidence of the Office at Luther’s time.

John Aurifaber printed it in his supplementary volume in 1564, evidently accepting it as genuine. It has been included in all of the large editions of Luther’s works since; but from time to time its authenticity has been questioned.

In the face of the objections to its genuineness enumerated in Weimar 12, p. 48, and of the very summary dismissal by Rietschel (Lehrbuch d. Lit. 2:64), it may seem bold to include it in our edition. But we are convinced that the objections start at the wrong place, and for that reason are open to question. No objection advanced seems to recognize the fact that Luther had to feel his way, pass through many marked transitions in liturgical matters, and as his natural inclinations were not in these directions (as exhibited quite often by vacillation and uncertain taste) he could well be expected to take just such a step as this little order exhibits, much in the nature of a trial, and one not well thought out! Then, too, the objectors do not give the burgomasters of that period very much credit when they insinuate that none of them would be interested in approaching Luther about such a matter. One can credit readily such interest on the part of many of these devoted and pious men; and it is not beyond probability that there might be a personal reason in the family life of one of these officials which would have moved him to make such a request of Luther. Is it unlike Luther to meet such a request in a way such as this?

The year 1523 marks the beginning of Luther’s expressions in writing concerning liturgical matters. He evidently met these matters as they arose and were forced upon him. This Direction, for it is that more than an Order, would quite naturally stand as a beginning and probably antedated both the Von Ordnung and the first formal Tauff buchlin. That it is a mere German exhibit of the Bamberg Agenda’s Office is decidedly not against it, as the Bamberg Use was that to which Luther was accustomed.

The little writing has by no means been proven spurious on the arguments advanced by some critics.

Literature: Weimar 12:38ff — text 42ff; 19:531ff — text 537ff. Walch 10:2624f. Erlangen 22:157ff. Clemen 3:310ff. Richter , Kitchen Ordnungen, 1:7ff Sehling , Kitchen Ordnungen, 1:17f Daniel , Codex liturgicus, 2:185ff Hering , Hufsbuch, 143ff Hofling , Das Sac. d. Taufe, 2:150ff Jakoby , Liturgik d. Reformatoren, l:301ff Rietschel , Lehrbuch d. Lit., 2:63ff For comparison, Rituale Romanum, Ed. Ratisbon, 1906, p. 12ff. PAUL ZELLER STRODACH DAS TAUFF BUCHLIN VERDEUTSCHT

No comments: