SEPTEMBER BIBLE 1522 | Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born on 10th November, 1483 in Eisleben. After graduating a Cathedral School in Magdeburg and Franciscan Convent School in Eisenach, according to the will of his father Hans, Martin started his law studies at university in Erfurt in May 1505. However, on 17th July of the same year, he suddenly entered the convent of Augustinian-hermits of the most severe rule. According to Luther, the reason of the decision was a vow which he had made when struck by lightning on 2nd July, although he had gone through some spiritual turmoil before. A journey to Rome in 1510 was a significant event in Luther’s life. He was struck by the sumptuousness of the capital of Christianity, the loss of morality of the clergy, the fact that Pope Julius II was more engaged with constant wars in Italy than leading the Church, and the common simony – sales of dignity, sacraments, and spiritual goods.

After coming back from Rome he became a professor in Wittenberg. The famous discourse about indulgences was in 1517, and in 1519, during a discussion with papal legate, Luther came into a conclusion that it was necessary not only to stop trading the grace of salvation, but also elaborated change of the Church. He also claimed that the pope’s prominence had not been assured by the Bible.

In 1521 Luther was excommunicated by Leo X. In the meantime, the issue began by Luther started to concern German politics. The emperor Charles V claimed him a heretics and banned him. Luther’s supporter, Frederick the Wise, simulated kidnapping and hid him in a castle in Wartburg. There Luther translated the New Testament into German language. Riots in Wittenberg and the so-called German Peasant’s War made him engaged in religious issues. Luther did not find the idea of celibacy in the Bible, so he married a former nun Katherine von Bora. They had six children together. Until his death in 1546, he was a activist of German Reformers. For Protestants Martin Luther was a restorer of the Church, Anglicans consider him as a saint. During the Second Vatican Council, Catholic Church considered that Luther’s teaching conveyed a lot of fair statements.

The September testament changed the world

One of the rules of Martin Luther was Sola Scriptura – just writing, which meant that the basis of the new, renewed religiousness wasthe Holy Scripture, read and considered by the followers.


Luther was aware that to achieve it, a new, faithful translation into German had to be made. The translation of the New Testament on the grounds of the version devised by Erasmus of Rotterdam was made by Luther within the period of 10 weeks in the Wartburg castle. The translation from the date of its publishing in September 1522 is called The September Bible  or The September Testament.

It occurred to be a bestseller. Published in an enormous for that time edition of 3 000 volumes, despite its high price of 1.5 guilder, it was sold within three months. It was one of the most important works of the German Reformatory. It shall be mentioned that the translation was completely made by Luther. In his work he used the court dialect of electorate of Saxony, although he added phrases used by common people. The rule of Luther was simple: “You have to listen to the mothers on roads, children at streets, ask an average person at the market and look at his mouth, and listen to their talk, and translate accordingly.” That is why the language of the translation is spoken not written, because Luther took care not only for the quality of the translation, but also about its understandibility for a common receiver. For example, the Greek word ‘barbaros’ meaning someone beyond the Greek culture was translated as ‘undeutsch’ –non-German. Due to the methodology, some of the words and phrases that occurred in the translation are still commonly known. Luther’s bible shaped German language and influenced it significantly.

Johann Gramman, or Jan Poliander

as it was his writing nickname – was born in Neustadt an der Aish in 1487. He was a rector in Saint Thomas School in Leipzig founded by Augustinians. His first meeting with Luther took place in Leipzig in 1519 during the famous debate. He took part in the debate as a secretary of Jan Eyck, papal legate, who stood against Luther. During the discussion, Gramman was convinced by the argumentation of Luther and changed sides. In 1526, recommended by Luther, he took the position of pastor in church in Konigsberg, which was the capital of the new arising Lutheran country – Prussia.

Known as a prominent humanist and the author of religious poetry in both German and Latin. He was an activist while establishing the University of Konigsberg by Albreht Hohenzollern, where he gave lectures and aided the library with 1000 books from his own collection. With Paul Speratus and Johann Briesmann he conducted reformatory activity in Prussia. Martin Luther called him ‘Prussia Apostle’. He died in Konigsberg in 1541.

The most valuable issue of the Luther Bible

In the volume that used to belong to Johann Gramman the text is located in one column. The layout is very clear, mainly due to the fact that there is a lot of space left and the margins are wide. There are many notes made by hand of Gramman – they might have been made during disputes with Luther himself. Hymns and lists of names are printed in short lines (as poetry), which increases the range of free space and makes the text more legible. The choice of gothic fonts is distinctive. The font called antykwa was considered in Germany as Latin font of Italian writings which was connected with Catholicism and Rome. Rejection of antykwa by Germans and the choice of gothic font was an act of German language emancipation. The division of text is visible on several levels. Each book begins with a highlighted line printed in bigger size. At the beginning of each book there are decorative initials with scenes inside.
Text of the New Testament is divided into parts consisting of approximately 15 lines. Another procedure comes from Luther who prepared the text to be read out loud. Individual sentences are separated with punctuation marks, and inside the sentences the parts conveying sense are indicated by slashes (/). The illustrations made by Cranach shall indicate the resemblance between Rome and Babylon.

Binding of The September Bible


Facsimile in the Luxury Version was set in a modern jewellery setting. In a stylish neo-gothic arcade in imitation of a canopy from Martin Luther statue in Wittenberg there is a emblem of protestant reformation, which was designed by Luther – so called “Luther Rose” with an amber heart. In the background there are initials M.L. – of the one, from who it all started. All of the elements of the obverse are covered with 24 carat gold and silver. Encrusted with jewellery gems – turquoises, malachite, and amber. Combination of natural leather, gems, noble metals and other natural materials and a completely handmade cover give the effect of a piece of art on one hand, and on the other, a quite ascetic item.

Facsimile Specification

Number of pages: 444 plus protective inserts

Paper: 90 grams, bulk paper

Binding: hand-coloured leather in burgundy (for copies 1-99) or canvas (for copies 100-500),

Elements plated with 24-carat gold and silver

Jewel embedded cover: 4 mm turquoise - 6 pieces, 5 mm turquoise - 6 pieces, 4 mm malachite - 11 pieces, 1 heart-shaped amber

Limited edition: 500 copies

Accessories: wooden old-style book chest, jute sack, gloves

Do you have any questions?