The publication of the Weimar Edition online offers completely new ways of accessing and searching through Luther's writings. This is particularly the case where large and complex bodies of text are concerned, such as Luther's translation of the Holy Bible, which was revised many times during his lifetime. It is possible to limit searches to certain sections of the Weimar Edition, or extend them to several others, such as "Briefe", "Tischreden" and "Schriften". This provides rapid reliable access to Luther's works in various genres: his correspondence and table talk, his polemical pamphlets and devotional works, his speeches and sermons, his biblical commentaries and hymns, his lectures and catechisms, and his reforming political writings and poetry.
The electronic edition enables researchers to:
- search for terms and phrases used by Luther, and determine when he first used them and how long they remained part of his vocabulary
- follow Luther's central theological ideas, such as his thinking on Christian freedom or the sacraments, by picking out key terms and specific phrases throughout his entire corpus
- trace Luther's statements on historical events, problems and processes, such as the Peasant War, maintaining peace, and church reform, in the various text types found among his writings
- obtain comprehensive material on Luther's contacts with, and opinions about, contemporary personalities and institutions, the Pope, the Church, the Emperor, the Holy Roman Empire and other authorities, his allies, his opponents and those who went to him for advice
- identify quotations and phrases borrowed by Luther from the Bible or the Church Fathers, as well as medieval, classical, and humanist authors
- quantify Luther's linguistic development, as revealed by his use of Latin and German, and, where relevant, his characteristic combination of the two languages
- gain insights into society at the moment of transition from the middle ages to the modern era as it is mirrored in Luther's language, close as this often is to the vernacular: the kind of insights that, in the past, have generally been the result of chance findings in Luther's works
The detailed search page used in Luthers Werke im WWW allows queries such as those above. Each search field has a corresponding Browse function providing access to a list of available terms for items such as Keyword, Title or Volume. The Search function allows you to search for individual phrases, single words, word stems or word combinations, as well as words which are close to one another.
The electronic edition frees researchers from the need to spend time on monotonous, and sometimes highly complex, searches, thus allowing more time for reading and research activities focussed on the content of Luther's works. Users can mark records, add notes and email themselves the bibliographic information and Durable URLs to selected volumes.
The Search Works page
The Search Results with Context page
The Full Text page