Martin Luther's 1534 bible
|Full name||Biblia / das ist / die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch|
|Language||Early New High German|
|Version revision||1984 (last official revision)|
|Copyright||Public domain due to age|
The Luther Bible (German : Lutherbibel) is a German language Bible translation from Hebrew and ancient Greek by Martin Luther. The New Testament was first published in 1522 and the complete Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha, in 1534. It was the first full translation of the Bible into German based mainly on the original Hebrew and Greek texts and not the Latin Vulgate translation.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
Martin Luther,, was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.
The project absorbed Luther's later years.Thanks to the then recently invented printing press, the result was widely disseminated and contributed significantly to the development of today's modern High German language.
A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium, thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium.
A number of Bible translations into German were produced prior to Luther's birth, both manuscript and printed. The earliest known manuscript translation was the fourth century Gothic translation of Wulfila (c. 311–80). At least a dozen printed translations were published, starting around 1460, in various German dialects. However, they were translations from the Latin Vulgate rather than the original Hebrew and Greek.
German language translations of the Bible have existed since the Middle Ages. The most influential is Luther's translation, which established High German as the literary language throughout Germany by the middle of the seventeenth century and which still continues to be most widely used in the Germanic world today.
Gothic is an extinct East Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable text corpus. All others, including Burgundian and Vandalic, are known, if at all, only from proper names that survived in historical accounts, and from loanwords in other languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
The Vulgate is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that was to become the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible during the 16th century, and is still used fundamentally in the Latin Church to this day. The translation was largely the work of Jerome, who in 382 had been commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina Gospels then in use by the Roman Church. Jerome, on his own initiative, extended this work of revision and translation to include most of the books of the Bible; and once published, the new version became widely adopted; and over succeeding centuries eventually eclipsed the Vetus Latina, so that by the 13th century it had taken over from the former version the appellation of versio vulgata or vulgata for short.
While he was sequestered in the Wartburg Castle (1521–22) Luther began to translate the New Testament from Greek into German in order to make it more accessible to all the people of the "Holy Roman Empire of the German nation." He translated from the Greek text, using Erasmus' second edition (1519) of the Greek New Testament, known as the Textus Receptus . Luther did not translate directly from the Latin Vulgate translation, which was the Latin translation officially used by the Roman Catholic Church. Luther also published the Bible in the small octavo format. Like Erasmus, Luther had learned Greek at the Latin schools led by the Brethren of the Common Life (Erasmus in Deventer, the Netherlands; and Luther in Magdeburg, Germany). These lay brothers added Greek as a new subject to their curriculum in the late 15th century. At that time Greek was seldom taught even at universities.
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
Textus Receptus an edition of the Greek texts of the New Testament established and first published by Erasmus. Other ancient texts in other languages may also be called Textus Receptus.
Octavo, a Latin word meaning "in eighth" or "for the eighth time", is a technical term describing the format of a book, which refers to the size of leaves produced from folding a full sheet of paper on which multiple pages of text were printed to form the individual sections of a book. An octavo is a book or pamphlet made up of one or more full sheets on which 16 pages of text were printed, which were then folded three times to produce eight leaves. Each leaf of an octavo book thus represents one eighth the size of the original sheet. Other common book formats are folios and quartos. Octavo is also used as a general description of size of books that are about 8 to 10 inches tall, and as such does not necessarily indicate the actual printing format of the books, which may even be unknown as is the case for many modern books. These terms are discussed in greater detail in book sizes.
To help him in translating into contemporary German, Luther would make forays into nearby towns and markets to listen to people speaking. He wanted to ensure their comprehension by translating as closely as possible to their contemporary language usage. His translation was published in September 1522, six months after he had returned to Wittenberg. In the opinion of the 19th-century theologian and church historian Philip Schaff,
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Wittenberg is situated on the River Elbe, 60 kilometers (37 mi) north of Leipzig and 90 kilometers (56 mi) south-west of Berlin, and has a population of 48,501 (2008).
Philip Schaff was a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant theologian and ecclesiastical historian who spent most of his adult life living and teaching in the United States.
The richest fruit of Luther's leisure in the Wartburg, and the most important and useful work of his whole life, is the translation of the New Testament, by which he brought the teaching and example of Christ and the Apostles to the mind and heart of the Germans in life-like reproduction. It was a republication of the gospel. He made the Bible the people's book in church, school, and house.
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The translation of the entire Bible into German was published in a six-part edition in 1534, a collaborative effort of Luther and many others such as Johannes Bugenhagen, Justus Jonas, Caspar Creuziger, Philipp Melanchthon, Matthäus Aurogallus, and Georg Rörer. Luther worked on refining the translation up to his death in 1546: he had worked on the edition that was printed that year.
There were 117 original woodcuts included in the 1534 edition issued by the Hans Lufft press in Wittenberg. They reflected the recent trend (since 1522) of including artwork to reinforce the textual message.
Luther added the word "alone" (allein in German) to Romans 3:28 controversially so that it read: "So now we hold, that man is justified without the help of the works of the law, alone through faith"The word "alone" does not appear in the Greek texts, but Luther defended his translation by maintaining that the adverb "alone" was required both by idiomatic German and the apostle Paul's intended meaning, and that sola was used in theological tradition before him.
Apologist James Swan lists numerous Catholic sources that also translated Romans 3:28 with the word "alone," or testified to others doing so before Luther.A Bible commentary published in 1864 reports that
|“||Catholic translators before the time of Luther had given the same translation. So in the Nuremberg Bible, 1483, "Nur durch den glauben." And the Italian Bibles of Geneva, 1476, and of Venice, 1538, per sola fede. The Fathers also often use the expression, "man is justified by faith alone;"||”|
Initially Luther had a low view of the Old Testament book of Esther and of the New Testament books of Hebrews, James, Jude, and the Revelation of John. He called the Letter of James "an epistle of straw," finding little in it that pointed to Christ and His saving work. He also had harsh words for the Revelation of John, saying that he could "in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it."In his translation of the New Testament, Luther moved Hebrews and James out of the usual order, to join Jude and the Revelation at the end, and differentiated these from the other books which he considered "the true and certain chief books of the New Testament. The four which follow have from ancient times had a different reputation." His views on some of these books changed in later years, and became more positive.
Luther chose to place the Biblical apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments. These books and addenda to Biblical canon of the Old Testament are found in the ancient Greek Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Masoretic text. Luther left the translating of them largely to Philipp Melanchthon and Justus Jonas.They were not listed in the table of contents of his 1532 Old Testament, and in the 1534 Bible they were given the well-known title: "Apocrypha: These Books Are Not Held Equal to the Scriptures, but Are Useful and Good to Read". See also Biblical canon, Development of the Christian Biblical canon, and Biblical Apocrypha.
The Luther Bible was not the first translation of the Bible into German.The previous German translation from 1350, printed by Johann Mentelin in 1466, was linguistically clumsy, partially incomprehensible, and translated from the Vulgate.
Luther's German Bible and its widespread circulation facilitated the emergence of a standard, modern German language for the German-speaking peoples throughout the Holy Roman Empire, an empire extending through and beyond present-day Germany. It is also considered a landmark in German literature, with Luther's vernacular style often praised by modern German sources for the forceful vigor ("kraftvolles Deutsch")with which he translated the Holy Scripture.
A large part of Luther's significance was his influence on the emergence of the German language and national identity. This stemmed predominantly from his translation of the Bible into the vernacular, which was potentially as revolutionary as canon law and the burning of the papal bull.Luther's goal was to equip every German-speaking Christian with the ability to hear the Word of God, and his completing his translation of the Old and New Testaments from Hebrew and Greek into the vernacular by 1534 was one of the most significant acts of the Reformation. Although Luther was not the first to attempt such a translation, his was superior to all its predecessors. Previous translations had contained poor German, and had been from the Vulgate Latin translation, i.e. translations of a translation rather than a direct translation into German from the originals. Luther sought to translate as closely to the original text as possible, but at the same time his translation was guided by how people spoke in the home, on the street, and in the marketplace. Luther's faithfulness to the language spoken by the common people was to produce a work which they could relate to. This led later German writers such as Goethe and Nietzsche to praise Luther's Bible. Moreover, the fact that the vernacular Bible was printed also enabled it to spread rapidly and be read by all. Hans Lufft, the Bible printer in Wittenberg, printed over one hundred thousand copies between 1534 and 1574, which went on to be read by millions. Luther's vernacular Bible was present in virtually every German-speaking Protestant’s home, and there can be no doubts regarding the Biblical knowledge attained by the German common masses. Luther even had large-print Bibles made for those who had failing eyesight. German humanist Johann Cochlaeus complained that
Luther's New Testament was so much multiplied and spread by printers that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel, and could read a little German, studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth. Some committed it to memory, and carried it about in their bosom. In a few months such people deemed themselves so learned that they were not ashamed to dispute about faith and the gospel not only with Catholic laymen, but even with priests and monks and doctors of divinity."
The spread of Luther's Bible translation had implications for the German language. The German language had developed into so many dialects that German speakers from different states could barely understand each other. This led Luther to conclude that “I have so far read no book or letter in which the German language is properly handled. Nobody seems to care sufficiently for it; and every preacher thinks he has a right to change it at pleasure and to invent new terms."Scholars preferred to write in the Latin which they all understood. Luther's Bible translation, based primarily on his native Saxon dialect and enriched with the vocabulary of German poets and chroniclers, led to a standardized German language. For this accomplishment, a contemporary of Luther's, Erasmus Alberus, labeled him the German Cicero, as he reformed not only religion but the German language also. Luther's Bible has been hailed as the first German 'classic', comparable to the English King James Version of the Bible. German-speaking Protestant writers and poets such as Klopstock, Herder and Lessing owe stylistic qualities to Luther's vernacular Bible. Luther adapted words to the capacity of the German public and through the pervasiveness of his German Bible created and spread the modern German language.
Luther's vernacular Bible also had a role in the creation of a German national identity. Because it penetrated every German-speaking Protestant home, the language of his translation became part of a German national heritage.Luther's program of exposure to the words of the Bible was extended into every sphere of daily life and work, illuminating moral considerations for Germans. It gradually became infused into the blood of the whole nation and occupied a permanent space in a German history. The popularity and influence of his translation gave Luther confidence to act as a spokesperson of a nation and as the leader of an anti-Roman movement throughout Germany. It made it possible for him to be a prophet of a new German national identity and helped form the spirit of a new epoch in German history.
In a sense the vernacular Bible also empowered and liberated all Protestants who had access to it. The existence of the translation was a public affirmation of reform, such as might deprive any elite or priestly class of exclusive control over words, as well as over the word of God.Through the translation Luther was intending to make it easier for "simple people" to understand what he was teaching. In some major controversies of the time, even some evangelicals, let alone the commoners, did not understand the reasons for disagreement; and Luther wanted to help those who were confused to see that the disagreement between himself and the Roman Catholic Church was real and had significance. So translation of the Bible would allow the common people to become aware of the issues at hand and develop an informed opinion. The common individual would thus be given the right to have a mind, spirit and opinion, to exist not as an economic functionary but as subject to complex and conflicting aspirations and motives. In this sense, Luther's vernacular Bible acted as a force towards the liberation of the German people. The combination of Luther's social teachings and the vernacular Bible undoubtedly had a role in the slow emancipation of western European society from a long phase of clerical domination. Luther gave men a new vision of perhaps the exaltation of the human self. Luther's vernacular Bible broke the domination and unity of the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. He had claimed Holy Scripture to be the sole authority, and through his translation every individual would be able to abide by its authority, and might nullify his or her need for a monarchical pope. As Bishop Fisher put it, Luther's Bible had “stirred a mighty storm and tempest in the church” empowering the no longer clerically dominated public.
Although not as significantly as on German linguistics, Luther's Bible also made a large impression on educational reform throughout Germany. Luther's goal of a readable, accurate translation of the Bible became a stimulus towards universal education, since everyone should be able to read in order to understand the Bible.Luther believed that mankind had fallen from grace and was ruled by selfishness, but had not lost moral consciousness: all were sinners and needed to be educated. Thus his vernacular Bible could become a means of establishing a form of law, order and morality which everyone could abide by, if all could read and understand it. The possibility of understanding the vernacular Bible allowed Luther to found a State Church and educate his followers into a law-abiding community. The Protestant states of Germany became educational states, which encouraged the spirit of teaching which was ultimately fueled by Luther's vernacular Bible.
Finally, Luther's translated Bible also had international significance in the spread of Christianity. Luther's translation influenced the English translations by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale who in turn inspired many other translations of the Bible such as the Bishops' Bible of 1568, the Douay–Rheims Bible of 1582–1609, and the King James Version of 1611.It also inspired translations as far as Scandinavia and the Netherlands. In a metaphor, it was Luther who 'broke the walls' of translation in western Europe and once such walls had fallen, the way was open to all, including some who were quite opposed to Luther's beliefs. Luther's Bible spread its influence for the remolding of Western European culture in the ferment of the sixteenth century. The worldwide implications of the translation far surpassed the expectations of even Luther himself.
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|Verse||Luther Bible||Translation||English versions||Notes|
|Gen 2:23||"[...] Man wird sie Männin heißen, darum daß sie vom Manne genommen ist."||"One will call her she-man, based on this[:] that she was taken out of the man."||"[...] She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."||Here Luther tried to preserve the resemblance of Hebrew ish (man) and ishah (woman) by adding the female German suffix -in to the masculine word Mann, because the correct word (at that time), Weib, does not resemble it (as neither does the modern Frau.) As with adding she- to man in English, adding -in to Mann in German is considered grammatically awkward.|
|Matthew 12:34||"[...] Wes das Herz voll ist, des geht der Mund über."||"What the heart is full of, of that the mouth overflows."||"[...] For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."||Emphasis on conveyance of meaning.|
|John 11:35||"Und Jesus gingen die Augen über."||"And Jesus' eyes overflowed."||"Jesus wept."||Poetic emphasis.|
|John 19:5||"[...] Sehet, welch ein Mensch!"||"Behold what a man (this is)!"||"[...] Behold the man!"||Emphasis on Jesus' glory in spite of an ignoble situation; now considered an incorrect translation. See also: Ecce Homo.|
Different religious groups include different books in their biblical canons, in varying orders, and sometimes divide or combine books. The Jewish Tanakh contains 24 books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching"); the eight books of the Nevi'im ("prophets"); and the eleven books of Ketuvim ("writings"). It is composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, and its Septuagint is the main textual source for the Christian Greek Old Testament.
The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) is a translation of the Bible published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The New Testament portion was released in 1950, as The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, with the complete Bible released in 1961; it is used and distributed by Jehovah's Witnesses. Though it is not the first Bible to be published by the group, it is their first original translation of ancient Classical Hebrew, Koine Greek, and Old Aramaic biblical texts. As of July 2019, the Watch Tower Society has published more than 220 million copies of the New World Translation in whole or in part in 184 languages. Though commentators have noted the scholarly effort that went into the translation, critics have described it as biased.
The son of perdition is a phrase associated with a demoniacal title that appears in the New Testament in the Gospel of Saint John 17:12 and in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians 2:3.
Justus Jonas, the Elder, or simply Justus Jonas, was a German Lutheran theologian and reformer. He was a Jurist, Professor and Hymn writer. He is best known for his translations of the writings of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. He accompanied Martin Luther in his final moments.
Konrad Pellikan was a German Protestant theologian, humanist, Protestant reformer and Christian Hebraist who worked chiefly in Switzerland.
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration of the Greek ἀντιλεγόμενα, refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.
Matthäus Aurogallus, German: Matthäus Goldhahn was a Czech linguist. Born in Chomutov, Bohemia as Matthäus Goldhahn, Aurogallus served as Professor of Hebrew at the University of Wittenberg and was a colleague of Philip Melanchthon and Martin Luther. He assisted Luther in the revision of the reformer's translation of the Old Testament, and made valuable contributions to the academic study of Hebrew.
The biblical apocrypha denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books found in some editions of Christian Bibles in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments or as an appendix after the New Testament. Some Christian Churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament.
The Tyndale Bible generally refers to the body of biblical translations by William Tyndale. Tyndale's Bible is credited with being the first English translation to work directly from Hebrew and Greek texts. Furthermore, it was the first English biblical translation that was mass-produced as a result of new advances in the art of printing.
Kurt Aland, was a German theologian and biblical scholar who specialized in New Testament textual criticism. He founded the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster and served as its first director from 1959–83. He was one of the principal editors of Nestle-Aland – Novum Testamentum Graece for the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft and The Greek New Testament for the United Bible Societies.
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian biblical canon; the second section is the New Testament. The Old Testament includes the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) or protocanon, and in various Christian denominations also includes deuterocanonical books. Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Protestants use different canons, which differ with respect to the texts that are included in the Old Testament.
Friedrich Eduard König was a German Lutheran divine and Semitic scholar.
Propaganda during the Reformation, helped by the spread of the printing press throughout Europe and in particular within Germany, caused new ideas, thoughts, and doctrine to be made available to the public in ways that had never been seen before the sixteenth century. The printing press was invented in approximately 1450 and quickly spread to other major cities around Europe; by the time the Reformation was underway in 1517 there were printing centers in over 200 of the major European cities. These centers became the primary producers of Reformation works by the Protestants, and in some cases Counter-Reformation works put forth by the Roman Catholics.
Bible translations in the Middle Ages discussions are rare in contrast to Late Antiquity, when the Bibles available to most Christians were in the local vernacular. In a process seen in many other religions, as languages changed, and in Western Europe languages with no tradition of being written down became dominant, the prevailing vernacular translations remained in place, despite gradually becoming sacred languages, incomprehensible to the majority of the population in many places. In Western Europe, the Latin Vulgate, itself originally a translation into the vernacular, was the standard text of the Bible, and full or partial translations into a vernacular language were uncommon until the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period.
Luther's canon is the biblical canon attributed to Martin Luther, which has influenced Protestants since the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. While the Lutheran Confessions, specifically did not define a canon, it is widely regarded as the canon of the Lutheran Church. It differs from the 1546 Roman Catholic canon of the Council of Trent in that it rejects the Deuterocanonical books and questions the seven New Testament books, called "Luther's Antilegomena", four of which are still ordered last in German-language Luther Bibles to this day.
While the Old Testament portion of the Bible was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. The Greek language however, has several different dialects or denominations. This required several different translations done by several different individuals and groups of people. These translations can be categorized into translations done before and after 1500 A.D.
Einheitsübersetzung (EÜ) is a German translation of the Bible for liturgical use in Roman Catholic worship. It is published by the Katholisches Bibelwerk and was compiled from 1962 to 1980 by Catholic theologians with contributions from Evangelical theologians. Collaboration was done on the New Testament and the Psalms. The Evangelical side withdrew support from a project revising the Einheitsübersetzung in 2005.
Hymnody in continental Europe developed from early liturgical music, especially Gregorian chant. Music became more complicated as embellishments and variations were added, along with influences from secular music. Although vernacular leisen and vernacular or mixed-language Carol (music) were sung in the Middle Ages, more vernacular hymnody emerged during the Protestant Reformation, although ecclesiastical Latin continued to be used after the Reformation. Since then, developments have shifted between isorhythmic, homorhythmic, and more rounded musical forms with some lilting. Theological underpinnings influenced the narrative point of view used, with Pietism especially encouraging the use of the first person singular. In the last several centuries, many songs from Evangelicalism have been translated from English into German.
Wenn nun Doctor [Luther] zuvor die außgangen Bibel vbersehen und darneben bey Juden vnnd frembden sprachkündigen sich erlernet vnd sich bey alten Deutschen von guten worten erfragt hatte, Wie er ihm etlich Schöps abstechen ließ, damit jn ein Deutscher Fleischer berichtet, wie man ein jedes am Schaf nennete, kam Doctor in das Consistorium mit seiner alten Lateinischen und newen Deutschen Biblien, darbey er auch stettigs den Hebreischen text hatte. Herr Philippus bracht mit sich den Greckischen text, Doctor Creuziger neben dem Hebreischen die Chaldeische Bibel. Die Professores hatten bey sich jre Rabinen, D. Pommer het auch ein Lateinischen text für sich, darinn er sehr wol bekant war. Zuvor hat sich ein jeder auff den text gerüst, davon man rathschlagen solte, Greckische unnd Lateinische neben den Jüdischen außlegern vbersehen. Darauff proponirt diser President [Luther] ein text und ließ die stimm herumb gehen und höret was ein jeder darzu zu reden hette, nach eygenschaft der sprache oder nach der alten Doctorn außlegung.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
[Rough translation: After Doctor Luther had translated the original Bible, learning from Jews, from foreign language scholars, and from old Germans in the process (for example, he asked a German butcher to slaughter some wethers for him so he could tell him how the different entrails are called), he came to the consistory with his old Latin Bible and with his new German Bible. He also always carried the Hebrew text with him. Herr Philippus contributed the Greek text, Doctor Creuziger contributed the Hebrew text and the Chaldaic Bible. The Professors also brought their Rabbinic Bibles, and Doctor Pommer had a Latin text which he knew very well. Before the meetings, everyone of them studied the text that was to be translated, to discuss the translation of the Greek and Latin version along with the Hebrew exegesis. Luther then proposed a text and asked and listened to what everyone had to say concerning the language or the interpretation.]
So halten wyrs nu, das der mensch gerechtfertiget werde, on zu thun der werck des gesetzs, alleyn durch den glawben (emphasis added to the German word for ‘alone.’).
λογιζόμεθα γάρ δικαιоῦσθαι πίστει ἄνθρωπον χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου ("for we reckon a man to be justified by faith without deeds of law").
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