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§ 22. The Translation of the Bible. Leo Judae.

Metzger (Antistes in Schaffhausen): Geschichte der deutschen Bibelübersetzung der schweizerischen reformirten Kirche. Basel, 1876. Pestalozzi: Leo Judae. Elberfeld, 1860.

A most important part of the Reformation was a vernacular translation of the Bible. Luther’s New Testament (1522) was reprinted at Basel with a glossary. In Zurich it was adapted to the Swiss dialect in 1524, and revised and improved in subsequent editions. The whole Bible was published in German by Froschauer at Zurich in 1530, four years before Luther completed his version (1534).113113    Five complete editions of the Bible were printed in Zurich before 1534. Pestalozzi, Leo Judae, p. 77. The translation of the Prophets and the Apocrypha was prepared by Conrad Pellican, Leo Judae, Theodor Bibliander, and other Zurich divines. The beautiful edition of 1531 contained also a new version of the Poetical books, with an introduction (probably by Zwingli), summaries, and parallel passages.

The Swiss translation cannot compare with Luther’s in force, beauty, and popularity; but it is more literal, and in subsequent revisions it has kept pace with the progress of exegesis. It brought the Word of God nearer to the heart and mind of the Swiss people, and is in use to this day alongside of the Lutheran version.114114    On the different editions see Metzger, l.c. 109 sqq., and Fritzsche, in Herzog2, XII. 556 sq. The versicular division was first introduced in the edition of 1589. The first thorough revision was prepared by Antistes Breitinger, 1629. Other revisions followed in 1665, 1724, 1755, 1772, 1817, 1860, and 1868. The last is pronounced by Fritzsche one of the best translations, based upon a conscientious use of the latest exegetical labors.

The chief merit in this important service belongs to Leo Jud or Judae.115115    He avoided his family name Jud (Jew); and the Zurichers called him "Master Leu" (Leo). in all his Latin writings he uses the Latin form. He was born in 1482, the son of a priest in Alsass, studied with Zwingli at Basle, and became his successor as priest at Einsiedeln, 1519, and his colleague and faithful assistant as minister of St. Peter’s in Zurich since 1523. He married in the first year of his pastorate at Zurich. His relation to Zwingli has been compared with the relation of Melanchthon to Luther. He aided Zwingli in the second disputation, in the controversy with the Anabaptists, and with Luther, edited and translated several of his writings, and taught Hebrew in the Carolinum. Zwingli called him his "dear brother and faithful co-worker in the gospel of Jesus Christ." He was called to succeed the Reformer after the catastrophe of Cappel; but he declined on account of his unfitness for administrative work, and recommended Bullinger, who was twenty years younger. He continued to preach and to teach till his death, and declined several calls to Wurtemberg and Basle. He advocated strict discipline and a separation of religion from politics. He had a melodious voice, and was a singer, musician, and poet, but excelled chiefly as a translator into German and Latin.116116    Pellican says of him, "Utilissima transtulit admodum feliciter." He wrote a Latin and two German catechisms, and translated Thomas à Kempis’ Imitatio Christi, Augustin’s De Spiritu et Litera, the first Helvetic Confession, and other useful books into German, besides portions of the Bible. He prepared also a much esteemed Latin version of the Old Testament, which is considered his best work. He often consulted in it his colleagues and Michael Adam, a converted Jew. He did not live to see the completion, and left this to Bibliander and Pellican. It appeared in a handsome folio edition, 1543, with a preface by Pellican, and was several times reprinted.117117    On his Latin Bible see Pestalozzi, 76 sqq., 165, and Fritzsche in Herzog2 VIII. 463. He lived on a miserable salary with a large family, and yet helped to support the poor and entertained strangers, aided by his industrious and pious wife, known in Zurich as "Mutter Leuin." Four days before his death, June 19, 1542, he summoned his colleagues to his chamber, spoke of his career with great humility and gratitude to God, and recommended to them the care of the church and the completion of his Latin Bible. His death was lamented as a great loss by Bullinger and Calvin and the people of Zurich.118118    On his works see Pestalozzi, pp. 96-106. His hymns and versified Psalms are printed in Wackernagel, Das Deutsche Kirchenlied, vol. III. p. 722 sqq. (Nos. 832-837).

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