Elector Bible

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Title page of the Elector Bible (1649). 1758

The Elector Bible is a German language folio-sized, Martin Luther translation of the New and Old Testaments of the Bible that was authorized by Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha and printed by Wolfgang Endter in Nuremberg, Germany from 1641 to 1758. The earliest known edition to have survived to this day is the Detmold edition printed in 1649. There were 14 editions of this Bible. Other names for this Bible are the Weimar, Ernestine, Kurfürstendamm, and Kurfürstenbibel.[1] By including a glossary explaining difficult words and passages this Bible was aimed for the enlightenment of “ordinary people”.

Early editions[edit]

The first edition of this Bible was printed starting in 1641 and had no dedication. The second edition was printed starting in 1649 had an engraved portrait of Queen Christina of Sweden included with a 4 page dedication. The third edition was printed starting in 1652 also was dedicated to Queen Christina of Sweden. The fourth edition was printed starting in 1662 after Christina’s conversion to Catholicism. This action made it inappropriate to have her portrait in the Bible and it was therefore replaced with a portrait of Ernst of Saxony. The National Library of Sweden in Stockholm has 7 editions including the first 4 editions. In Isaac Vossius's (Queen Christina's Librarian) handwritten catalog of her books it is labeled as follows under Folio:

"Mart. Luthers Biblis, auff Verordnung Hertzog Ernsts. Nürnberg 1649".[2]


  1. ^ [1] Archived 29 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ E-mail correspondence with: Jonas Nordin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Research Department, Kungl.biblioteket / National Library of Sweden Box 5039, 102 41 Stockholm, Sweden