Title page of the Septembertestament in the Bodleian Library

Wittenberg 1522: Print Culture and Soundscape of the German Reformation 

Under the auspices of the German Studies Library Group and in association with the British Library, for the fourth time a Lecture in memory of Graham Nattrass (1940–2012) will be delivered on Tuesday, 20 September 2022 at the British Library, St Pancras, London. Graham Nattrass was Chair of the German Studies Library Group from 2003 till 2007, and a founding member of the Group.  He enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the British Library, becoming Head of Germanic Collections in 1996 and retiring from the Library in 2005, as its Head of West European Collections, having worked at the British Library (and its antecedents) since 1971.  He also enjoyed classical music and attending performances by the British Library and British Museum Singers.

17.00:  The British Library and British Museum Singers conducted by Peter Hellyer will perform German music, including pieces by Bach, Brahms, and Mendelssohn, in the main entrance hall of the British Library

17.30:  Refreshments prior to the Lecture will be served in the Foyle Suite

18.00:  Lecture: Professor Henrike Lähnemann, University of Oxford—‘Wittenberg 1522: Print Culture and Soundscape of the German Reformation’, in the Foyle Suite

In September 1522, the Wittenberg printers had a bestseller at their hand: the German New Testament translated by Martin Luther over the summer. It sold so quickly that in December they produced a second edition. The lecture will contextualise this publication in the print culture and soundscape of its time. A particular focus will be on Reformation pamphlets from 1522 in the British Library and contemporary hymn production to spread the biblical message. The British Library and British Museum singers will provide practical examples.

Books from the British Library featured (key terms “Wittenberg 1522”):

  • [Septembertestament] Das Newe Testament Deutzsch. Vuittemberg : [M. Lotter], [September 1522.] System number: 000332084. The first edition of Martin Luther’s New Testament translation, the so-called September Bible. Translated from Erasmus’ Greek Testament. With woodcuts of the Apocalypse by the Cranach workshop.
  • [Dezembertestament] Das Newe Testament Deutzsch. Wittemberg : Durch M. Lotther, [December] 1522. 2 parts (100, 94 leaves)
  • Das new Testament, yetzund recht grüntlich teutscht. Welchs allein Christum vnser seligkeit recht vnd klärlich leret. Mit gantz gelerten vnd richtigen vorreden, vnd der schweristen örteren kurtz, aber gut, ausslegung. Durch A. Petri : Basel, im Christmond, 1522.
  • Ihesus. Das New Testament Deutsch. (Vszlegung vnnd verstādt ettlicher sprüch der fyer Euangelisten byn vnd wider anstössig.). Strassburg : Bey H. Schotten, [1522]
  • Das Hauptstuck des ewigen und newen testaments, etc. Martin Luther [Wittenberg?], [1522]
  • Ain Sermon durch Martinum Luther. Ecclesia. zu Witenberg Geprediget Von den Bildtnussen im Jar M.D.XXII. Wittenberg, [1522?]
  • [Von beyder gestallt des Sacraments zu nehmen und ander newrung. Doct. Martin Luther meynung. Wittemberg. M.D.xxij. [Wittenberg, 1522.] 4º.
  • Contra Henricum Regem Angliae Martinus Luther. Wittembergae. 1522.

Henrike Lähnemann is Professor of Medieval German Literature and Linguistics at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford. She teaches History of the Book and Digital Humanities and edits the Taylor Editions Reformation Pamphlets series.

There is no charge to attend the Lecture and listen to the performance—which are open to all—but places are limited.

If you intend to come, please email Dorothea Miehe, Chair of the German Studies Library Group — dorothea.miehe@bl.uk.

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