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 that it will make the works of Martin Luther more accessible to the general public.

My original motivation for making a list of cross-references was simply to find titles and English translations for the cryptic (to me at the time) references to the German St. Louis edition of Luther’s works in Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics. 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 “Sources” 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. "56, 293" for the American Edition or "X:483" for the St. Louis German Edition). It won’t work with a range of pages or columns (e.g., “7, 56-110”).

However, a single volume number will also work (e.g. "12" for the American Edition or "XII" for the St. Louis German Edition). Used this way, the index displays all the works in that volume.

The “Search by Reference” page doesn’t yet support searches using Weimar edition references; however, I do plan to add that capability sometime in the future.

Dates

I’m currently trying to assign a date to each of Luther’s works that's accurate at least to the month, but so far I’ve got through only 1524 or so. 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, whether published or not, 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 just 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.