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Seminary Professors Help Provide Unprecedented Lutheran Confessions Resource

Two Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, professors provided significant contributions to the field of Lutheran confessional studies through their involvement in the new English translation of “The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church,” released by Fortress Press. Dr. Robert A. Kolb, mission professor of systematic theology and director of the Seminary’s Institute for Mission Studies, served as co-editor and contributed a new translation of the “Formula of Concord” based upon his research over the past 20 years.

The only other Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) scholar involved in the new translation is Dr. Charles P. Arand, associate professor of systematic theology and chairman of Concordia Seminary’s department of systematic theology. Arand provided the first ever translation of the “Apology of the Augsburg Confession” based upon a different text, known as the octavo text. “This text reflects Luther’s suggestions to fellow-reformer Philip Melanchthon, and the result is a slightly briefer, but more strongly Lutherian text,” commented Arand.

This new work will replace the edition that was edited by Theodore Tappert and published over 40 years ago. The new translation takes into account the significant advances made in confessional scholarship since the Tappert edition. The result is a larger volume than the previous Tappert edition due to improvements and additions in two areas: the texts themselves and study aids for the texts. The new edition is intended to serve as a study edition of the “Book of Concord.”

The new edition of the “Book of Concord” is the first volume of a projected three-volume set that involves professors from Concordia Seminary. Volume 2 includes a variety of sources that will aid in the study of Book of Concord. This volume, also edited by Kolb, will include translations by Arand (“Disputation on Justification,” “Saxon Visitation Articles”); Dr. Thomas E. Manteufel, associate professor of systematic theology at Concordia (“Catalog of Testimonies”); and Dr. Robert L. Rosin, professor of historical theology and chairman of the department of historical theology (“John Eck’s 404 Articles”). Volume 3 will provide new historical introductions by Kolb and Dr. James Nestingen of Luther Seminary to all of the confessional writings.

“The significant involvement of professors Kolb and Arand in this new edition of the “Book of Concord” and the significant contributions by professors Manteufel and Rosin to future volumes provide further witness to Concordia Seminary’s leadership at the forefront of confessional studies in the world today,” commented Dr. Andrew Bartelt, vice president for academic affairs at Concordia Seminary. “We are grateful for the contribution these professors are making to the field of Lutheran confessional studies and for the contributions they make in the classroom on a daily basis as they form the church’s future pastors in this same confessional tradition.”

“In terms of study aids, the footnotes in the new edition are far more extensive and helpful than the prior edition by Tappert,” commented Arand. “They were prepared in view of the reality that today’s reader of the Confessions may not have a strong background in Reformation theology. The notes not only document citations from the texts themselves, but provide explanations of technical terms and insights from the Reformers’ other writings. Perhaps most significantly, the new edition now includes a biographical index of every name mentioned in the “Book of Concord.” This index includes a one-sentence description of the individual and the significance of his work and then provides a reference to the very location in the book that he is cited. Extensive scriptural and subject indices also are included.”

The “Small Catechism” in the new English translation includes the baptismal booklet and the marriage booklet that had been a part of Luther’s original catechism and its subsequent editions.

For more information, contact Rev. Glen Thomas, vice president for seminary relations, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 314-505-7371 (thomasg@csl.edu).