Re: Greek Translation of Augsburg Confession

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Mon Mar 29 1999 - 16:50:11 EST

>Roland H. Baiton, in his biography of Martin Luther (not King) on page
>99 states that Philip Melanchthon made a Greek translation of the
>Augsburg Confession in which he made theological adjustments which were
>intended to placate the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
>Have any of you seen this Greek Translation of Augsburg Confession?
>Clayton Stirling Bartholomew

Clayton, I don't know if you have gotten any response to your request
above. Let me fill you in a bit.

There is an extensive description of this translation of the Confessio
Marburg am Lahn: Elwert Graefe und Unzer Verlag, 1949: Chapter IV. "Die
greichische Uebersetzung der Confessio Augustana aus dem Jahre 1559," (pp.
94-128) gives a good description of the history leading up to this

Melanchthon's translation was published in Basel by the great printer
Johannes Oporinus. The title page gave the title both in Greek and in
Latin. The Latin reads: Confessio Fidei exhibita invictissimo Imperatori
Carolo V. Caesari Augusto in Comitiis Augustae anno M. D. XXX, Graece
reddita a Paulo Dolscio Plauensi. Basileae, 1558. Octavo.

Copies of thisvery rare edition are in Tuebingen, Stuttgart, and
Wittenberg. It was reprinted in the Acte et scripta Theologorum
Wirtembergensium of the year 1584--which also includes 10 other related

On p. 99 Ernst Benz writes [in my translation of his German] "The Greek
text of the Augsburg Confession is no neat, simple, word for word
translation of the Augustana, the refuses all additions; rather it is a
reworking with very many changes and additions, that even in the main
articles on justification and good works leaves scarcely a word of the
original formulation alone, but precisely in these special articles present
a regular change of meaning and interpretation."

The translation reflects the changes Melanchthon made in the Augusburg
Confession of 1530 [of which he was the author!] after that time,
especially in 1531 and 1540. The Latin underlying the Greek translation
is "eine selbststaendige und voelling neu und einziartige Bearbeiteung der
aeltesten Variata von 1531."

If you can get a copy of Ernst Benz's book and can read Germanb, you would
find an extensive analysis of the changes in the article on
justification--and a long argument that Melanchthon did the tranlation, and
not Paul Dolscius, who did write the introduction!.

I hope this gives you some of the information you were seeking.

Edgar Krentz
Professor of New Testament Emeritus
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 E. 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615 USA
e-mail: (Office) (Home)

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