An Index to the Works of Martin Luther

Introduction and Explanation

This site is based on a database I’ve created that is part personal study tool and part programming exercise. I’ve made it available on the Internet in the hope of making the works of Martin Luther more accessible to the general public.

My original motivation for making a list of cross-references was just to find titles and English translations for the cryptic (to me at the time) references in Franz Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics to the German St. Louis edition of Luther’s works. As I discovered more and more resources that helped me do that, my list, originally a table in Word document format, developed into the MySQL database and interface you see here.

The database doesn’t have a complete list of contents for any of the editions yet, though that is my long-term goal.

Formats

There are two interfaces to the database here—the main index page and a “Search by Reference” page. Both display Luther’s works in rows containing columns for the date (see below for what that means), title, and references to the German St. Louis edition, the American English edition, and the German Weimar edition. See the “References” page for the full publisher’s information on each of these editions.

Note that the references for the St. Louis edition are in the format of volume (a Roman numeral) and column number separated by a colon (e.g. VII:346-677) but references to the other two editions are in the format of volume and page number separated by a comma and space (e.g. 21, 1-294).

The Weimar edition, in addition to the main set of Luther’s works, also contains separate sets for Luther’s personal correspondence, his German translation of the Bible, and his table talk. These are designated by a label of, respectively, “Br”, “DB”, or “TR” prefixed to the reference—abbreviations for the German words for “Correspondence,” “German Bible,” and “Table Talk.” References to the main set have no prefix. Finally, a few of the Weimar volumes have two or three revisions or extensions—I’m not exactly sure which. These revisions or extensions are designated by the Roman numerals “I”, “II”, or “III” following the volume number.

The input box on the “Search by Reference” page takes only a volume number and a single page (or column) number, e.g “21, 79” for the American edition or “VII:350” for the St. Louis edition. (If you enter a range of pages or columns it will probably find the work referenced by the first page or column number in the range, but I’m not sure about that.) The “Search by Reference” page doesn’t yet support search by Weimar edition reference, only by St. Louis edition or American edition references; I plan on adding the capability for Weimar edition references soon however. Additionally note that only the volume number (“XV” for StL or “15” for AE) may be entered if you wish to see all works contained in that volume.

Dates

I’m currently trying to assign a date to each of Luther’s works that is accurate down to the month, but as of this writing [2017-05-17], I’ve only got through the works written before 1524. The rest have at least a year assigned to them.

I’ve usually followed what the editors of the American edition suggest as the date for any given work. For works published during Luther’s lifetime, that usually means the publication date. For sermons, that usually means the date the sermon was delivered. For lecture series that span months, sometimes years, that usually means the month of the last lecture in the series.

The situation gets complicated for works that went through many editions in Luther’s lifetime. He usually revised his works between editions, sometimes extensively so, and the version included in one of the collections represented here might not be the same as that included in another. In those cases, I’ve tried to choose the date of the final or best-known version. The important thing to remember about the dates I display here is that they’re not authoritative in ambiguous cases or in cases where the publication date, delivery date, or date of composition isn’t definintely known. They’re supplied only to give a not totally unreasonable order for Luther’s works when the “Date” sort option is chosen.

Categories

The categories of works I display as filter options for the main index (Lectures, Sermons, Letters, Hymns, Table Talk, and Other) are likewise somewhat arbitrary and chosen mainly for convenience. “Hymns,” for example, really means “Liturgical Works” or “Something published in a hymnal or order of service,” but I needed a shorter label in order to get all the categories on one line in the table header. Like the dates, they’re not to be taken as completely accurate descriptions but only as a device to tailor the display.