Friday, June 3, 2011

"Easy" summer project: translate Luther's Small Catechism with Explanations

A very short while ago, I was trying to take a "summer break" from discussing theology.  This reading and discussing is always running away with me and I don't have it under enough control.  But when I quit cold turkey, it's like I have cut off my arms and legs.

So, I have in mind to pace myself and do something edifying by translating an old version of the Small Catechism and the Explanations (Bible Proofs).  Concordia Publishing House has its own beautiful version and I most highly recommend purchasing one, reading it regularly and treasuring it.  In particular, I love the soft covered one.  Worth every penny, as someone at CPH told me.  And they are right, for those who can obtain one. Buy one, if you don't have one--or else have someone get it for you.

In the past, I have wanted to copy bits and pieces from this, day by day, but someone told me this would be against copyright and so it has been confirmed: it is against copyright to put this version on the internet for free use.  There will be no permission to do so.   Personally, I think there is something wrong with this, since it is simply a translation of work done by others a long time ago who really wanted to instruct the simple and poor people and made this a total priority.

But since it appears to be legal to do my own translating, I will translate it myself.  I will also translate the Bible verses from Luther's version, then I don't have to ask permission of anyone else.  This will be original work and I will appreciate any and all feedback, as it will certainly be needed.  My English writing is not always as polished as that of others.  Neither have I background in the biblical languages, only the modern languages.  So, therefore, any help would be highly welcome.

The idea to translate the Bible verses from Luther's version comes to me from the "Through Faith Alone" devotional.

This is the book I will be translating from:

Dr Martin Luthers Kleiner Katechismus Mit Beweisenden Und Erläuternden Spruchen Aus der Heiligen Schrift (German Edition)

This, I did purchase from Amazon.   It is a reprint from the collection of the University of Michigan library.  It was issued by Maximillian Joseph, the King of Bavaria, with the proceeds of the book going to the fund for pastor's widows.

For the life of me, I hope that no one has a copyright to this anymore.  The king died  in 1825.  I would think that the University did not purchase any rights from him.  The content has been digitized by Google books.

We find in 128 small pages only the six chief parts.  This version is missing "Daily Prayers", "Table of Duties" and "Christian Questions with their Answers".

So far this idea.

About the Small Catechism, the "Confessing Evangelical" puts it nicely:  For me, anything not in the Small Catechism is really secondary; anything in the Small Catechism is non-negotiable. Hence the strapline to this blog at the time of writing: “You can have my Small Catechism when you prise it from my cold, dead hands”

Well said.  Very inspiring.

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