Contact: Dr. Heinrich C. Kuhn
Document created: 2007-10-24
Last update: 2007-10-29
Mundhenk, Christine ((ed.)
Scheible, Heinz (coed.)
Hein, Heidi (const.)
Steiniger, Judith (adi.)
Texte 1980-2335 (1538-1539)
Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt [frommann-holzboog] 2007
Series:Melanchthons Briefwechsel. - Kritische und kommentierte Gesamtausgabe ; T8
Price: € 232
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This title was reviewed by: Manuela Kahle of "Seminar für Geistesgeschichte und Philosophie der Renaissance"
Item arrived at GGREN on: 2007-09-17
Review was finished on: 2007-10-23
Melanchthons Briefwechsel (correspondence) 1538–1539, Band T 8: Texte 1980-2335 is the eighth volume of "Texte" of the critical Melanchthon edition by the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. This comprehensive and ambitious edition embraces now, twenty volumes of "Regesten" (Band 1-8), "Addenda und Konkordanzen" (Band 9), "Orte A-Z und Itinerar" (Band 10), register of persons "Personen A-E" and "Personen F-K" (Band 11-12), and texts "Texte" (Band T 1- T 8).
These documents of the years 1538 and 1539 represent the versatile life of Philipp Melanchthon (né Schwarzerdt, 1497-1560). They give a picture of him as a humanist, theologian, teacher, reformer, adviser and friend. The user of this volume partakes for example of the exchange of conflicts between the emperor Karl V and King Franz I of France, the conflict between Venetian Cyprus and the Ottoman Empire, but also on the discussion about the question of the Eucharist (Abendmahl) or a possible bigamous life of the landgrave Philip of Hesse. Further more there are several exchanges about written texts and their publication, awarding scholarships, converting people, discussing scientific phenomena like a comet above Germany and the solution of everyday life problems. Melanchthons' translations, expert opinions, reports and prefaces complete the picture of Melanchthon as a committed member of the scientific and theologian community and well known praeceptor germaniae.
As every volume of "Texte", Band T 8 provides the following structure:
The edition of the documents provide for each of them:
The indices involve the following registers:
The texts of the edition are mainly given in full length and original languages. TheseLanguages are Latin, German (90 documents) and English (2 documents). For each of the texts, the manuscripts are listed with the different versions (Varianten) and previous editions. In addition to this the edition provide information about locations, shelfmark and other bibliographic information concerning the manuscripts and prints they used for their edition.
The critical apparatus is divided into different sections, such as Entstehungsvarianten, details of the tradition (Überlieferung, Wirkungsgeschichte) and the sources. There are no further comments or information on the context of the document.
An comparison between the new critical edition Melanchthons Briefwechsel Volume T 8 (1538-1539) and the old standart edition of the Melanchthon letters of this time in the Corpus reformatorum edited by Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider in the 19th century (Corpus reformatorum, Philippi Melanthonis Opera quae supersunt omnia. Edidit Carolus Gottlieb Bretschneider. Vol. III, Halle (S) 1836.) clarifies the quality of the new critical edition. Not only the quantity of documents is remarkable. In the Bretschneider edition we have a very limited apparatus for each document. It shows, in contrast to the new edition, a lack of corresponding notes with very usefull supplements such as names, concepts, sources etc., a lack of a very detailed critical apparatus and particularised indications of manuscripts or previous editons etc., that makes this new edition so valuable. Furthermore the corrections of false dates, that, as Scheible mentioned in his preface of volume one, are very frequent in the Bretschneider edition, makes this new edition essential for any futher research on Melanchthon.
It is necessary to view the complete edition as a project, to show the context in which volume T 8 finds place. This consideration shows furthermore how to work with the edition in general and with this volume T 8 in particular. The critical edition Melanchthons Briefwechsel covers (respectively will cover by the time it will be completed) nearly 10,000 letters and documents from Melanchthon himself or very closely connected to him. A big part of these documents, especially the private letters of Melanchthon, have, as the editor Heinz Scheible mentioned, no declaration of date or place. To publish the documents in chronological order, as the concept of the edition claims, it is necessary to examine, analyse, and order each document before publishing the text. The results of this examination are published in the volumes "Regesten". Provided are:
The texts themselves as well as further editorial information on the texts are published in the volumes "Texte". Therefore there is a close connection between "Regesten" and "Texte" of the edition.
One could criticise the following issues. First of all there is no adequate preface in the volume T 8 (as in most of the edited volumes). Just the first volume of the whole edition provides detailed information on the aims of the project, the methods or sufficient directions to the user. The user is forced to consult volume one of the edition to get, for example, the most necessary information - that the "Regesten" provide further details to each text in volume T 8. In fact, it is difficult to consult volume T 8 without lengthy research of the edition as a whole.
Moreover, there is absolutely no abstract form of or summary to the biographical or historical context of Melanchthon or his period of time. Even Bretschneider gives a compressed survey of the most important historical and biographical facts.
The last thing is a fact of time and a little bit of counting. It took up until now thirty years of work to provide this impressive edition and the editors are just at the beginning of editing the texts themselves. If one takes theses data and makes a projection it will (I hope not, but) consume further decades to complete this edition.
To summarise the above given information: this critical edition Melanchthons Briefwechsel in general and the volume "Texte" T 8 in particular and as part of the whole project is indeed, as mentioned at the beginning, an amazing, comprehensive, absolutely useful edition of documents on Melanchthon. Impressive is the quantity of given documents and the detailed information to each of them summarised in this edition. The edition is essential in respect to both the history of the edition of the correspondence of Melanchthon and the history of biographical work on Melanchthon. Until now there is, as fare as I know, no current satisfactory biography of Melanchthon available. The latest Melanchthon biography from Horst Jesse published in 2005 ( Horst Jesse: Leben und Wirken des Philipp Melanchthon, München 2005) did not even use the new critical edition with the huge amount of new sources or the Biography of the editor of the critical edition Heinz Scheible published in 1997 (Heinz Scheible: Melanchthon. Eine Biographie, München 1997.)
The usefulness of this edition is indisputable. Every scholar dealing with Melanchthon in any way, German humanism, Reformation, history of universities and school systems, 16th century history etc. etc. will have to recognise and to use this edition.
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Author1: Melanchthon, Philipp Author2: Mundhenk, Christine (ed.) Author3: Scheible, Heinz (coed.) Author4: Hein, Heidi (rec.) Author5: Steiniger, Judith (adi.) Author5: main Title: Band T8 subtitle: Texte 1980-2335 (1538-1539) edition: series: Melanchthons Briefwechsel. - Kritische und kommentierte Gesamtausgabe ; T8 place of publ.: Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt publisher: frommann-holzboog year: 2007 no of pages etc.: 701 pp. ISBN: 978-3-7728-2440-1 currency: € price: 232