Saturday, November 04, 2006

Didn't Know This about Luther Until Today

In the winter semester of 1513-1514, in preparation for his first lectures on the Psalms, Luther "wanted each of his students to have a copy of the scriptural text to consult. He therefore instructed Johannes Grunenberg, the printer for the university to produce an edition of the Psalter with wide margins and lots of white space between the lines. Here the students would reproduce Luther's own glosses and commentary, and perhaps (who knows?) they would have room for their own exegetical reflections as well. At all events Luther produced for his students something like a modern, as opposed to a medieval, text of the Bible--its modernity consisting precisely in the white space around the text" (Gerald Bruns, Hermeneutics Ancient and Modern, pp. 139-140).

This in contradistinction to the Glossa Ordinaria common in Luther's day that had the text of Scripture surrounded by commentaries of the Church Fathers.

So, one aspect of the Reformation was white space. Hmm...

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