If you’ve been at all a patron of the Golden Age of Lutheran Blogs, at some point during the late GALB (more fun if you say it rather than spell it out) you may have come across the Historische Bilder zum Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gottesdienst: Eine Dokumentation (English: “Historical Pictures of the Evangelical-Lutheran Divine Service: A Documentation”), a PDF book by one Helmut Schatz. If, like me, you don’t know much German, you probably remember the pictures more than anything. And what pictures they are!
As best I can tell, Herr Schatz’s work was first featured online by the Rogate-Kloster Sankt Michael, a liberal ecumenical monastery in Berlin (NB: a Franciscan brother at the monastery informed us that Schatz is not a member of their community). Since then it has had some traffic among American Lutherans— q.v. this blog-post by St. Wede the Venerable, where he credits fellow GALB major-leaguer Pr. David Jay Webber for the find. Though I like to think that I am fairly well versed in GALB history and lore (high, middle, and late), I must admit that I did not see the post on the blog of the Venerable Wede back in 2011, so before I go on, I must thank my good friend Seth James for putting me onto Schatz’s work sometime late last year.
As far as I know, no English translation of Herr Schatz’s work has been done. I suspect this is largely for two reasons: one, plenty of Lutherans know German and can enjoy it in the original; two, the pictures alone are captivating enough in their own right.
Enter Herr Matthew Carver, translator extraordinaire— or perhaps I should say translator außergewöhnlich— of Lutheran obscurities that oughtn’t be obscure but… well… often are, at least today.
Then again, how else will they be unobscured, if not through the work of guys like him?
Among Herr Carver’s noteworthy translations are Walther’s Hymnal: Church Hymnbook for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Saints Maurice & Catherine Daily Lectionary, The Christian Year of Grace by Johann Spangenberg, and The Great Works of God (Parts I & II & Parts III & IV) by Valerius Herberger. I highly recommend each and every one of them, but don’t let that dissuade you— buy them.
In addition to translating these full-length works, Matthew has helped me out with a few projects here on Pseudepigraphus, notably this snippet from a sermon in which Martin Luther says, but obviously doesn’t mean, “there are three uses of the Law”, as well as a fine translation of Francis Pieper’s three pages of footnotes on the perpetual virginity of Mary from Vol. II of Christliche Dogmatik, (in)famously omitted in the 1950 English edition of that work. (This latter translation has been completed, but has not yet been posted— mea maxima culpa— so stay tuned.) Needless to say, we stick to strictly non-controversial topics.
But I digress— the appropriate overseas enquiries having been made, Matthew has graciously taken up the not-insignificant task of translating the aforementioned Historische Bilder zum Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gottesdienst by Helmut Schatz, with installments to be posted here at Pseudepigraphus on a rolling basis.