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Gender Issues in Ancient and Reformation Translations of Genesis 1-4$
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Helen Kraus

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600786

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600786.001.0001

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Luther's German Bible

Luther's German Bible

(p.110) Chapter 6 Luther's German Bible
Gender Issues in Ancient and Reformation Translations of Genesis 1-4

Helen Kraus

Oxford University Press

An Augustinian monk, Luther was, like Jerome, determined to control his youthful libido by taking a vow of celibacy, but eventually broke this in order to marry Katharine, a former nun. His writings are contradictory; his Genesisvorlesung (in Latin) seems intensely pre‐occupied with the sinful nature of sexual intercourse, whereas his German sermons strongly favour marriage as divinely ordained and approve intercourse within its sacramental union. Luther's biblical exegesis and translation owes much to the work by Nicholas of Lyra and Rashi. Luther's translation is mainly faithful and aimed at ordinary German people. He tends to ‘iron out the creases’ of Hebraism but occasionally gives a rendering that betrays his views, the most significant being 3:16, where the husband shall be the woman's lord and ruler of his household, much as God is ruler of his universe.

Keywords:   Augustine, libido, celibacy, Genesisvorlesung, marriage, sacramental union, Lyra, Rashi, household

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