Biblia Sacra, Inscribed and Signed by Martin Luther

Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




Lyon, (France)




Printed on Paper


7.25 × 5.56 × 2.06 in. (18.4 × 14.2 × 5.2 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

Published by Guillaume Boulle in Lyon, France, this Latin Vulgate contains 135 woodcut illustrations. According to the binding, it was apparently in Wittenberg, Germany by 1544. The embossed leather cover depicts Martin Luther on the front, and his associate, Phillip Melanchthon, on the back. Martin Luther included his signature, dated 1545, and an inscription of Hosea 2:16-17 on the front pastedown for an unknown owner. Because Luther accentuated singing within the text with capitals and underlining, it is likely that the owner was a musician.

Published in 1542 by Guillaume Boulle, Lyon, France.[1] Purchased in 1547 by Sophonias Paminger (1526–1603), German educator and composer.[2] Acquired by 1798 by a private collector in Leipzig, Saxony. Acquired by 1924 by Oswald Weigel, bookseller, Leipzig.[3] Privately purchased in 1950 by Frederick H. von Schleinitz (1915–1995), private collector, Wisconsin.[4] Privately purchased by Jörn Günther — Rare Books AG, bookseller, Stalden, Switzerland; Privately purchased in 2012 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2020 to The Signatry, Overland Park, Kansas, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Even though this Bible was intended to be sold in France or Spain, according to the binding it was apparently in Wittenberg by 1544. [2] Paminger’s inscription on the front pastedown states that he bought the Bible on August 21, 1547. It is not clear if he purchased the text from the original owner or from that owner’s estate. [3] See Oswald Weigel, Auktionskatalog, Neue Folge 132, Leipzig 1924, p. 14f. [4] Von Schleinitz exhibited this book at the Lutheran Laymen’s League conference in Colorado Springs in 1954. See “Martin Luther Bible Shown by Manitou Book Collector,” and “Bible Owned by Luther Exhibited at Film Showing,” in the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, May, 1954. He claimed to have purchased the text in Zürich.

Museum of the Bible Publications:

Roland S. Werner, Unser Buch: Die Geschichte Der Bibel Von Mose Bis Zum Mond (Our Book: The Story of the Bible from Moses to the Moon) (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH KG, 2017), 122.

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