Church publishes digital version of Bible in German

A digital version of the Bible in German is available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and the Gospel Library mobile app. It’s the 1939 public domain version of the German Menge translation and was published online by the Church on Wednesday, May 26.  

“It is the best text available that is both in the public domain and meets Church standards for dignity of language and acceptable doctrinal accuracy,” Todd Harris, senior linguist in the Church’s Publishing Services Department, said in the Thursday, May 27, announcement.  

The digital version will be updated with footnotes, cross references and headings in coming years.  

“We are very pleased to now have the entire German standard works of the Church digitally available,” Elder Erich W. Kopischke, a General Authority Seventy, who is currently serving in the Europe Area presidency, said of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in the announcement. 

The 2016 edition of the Einheitsübersetzung will remain, for the time being, the official preferred German Bible translation in print for Church usage, according to the announcement. 

The Church has digitally published the 1939 public domain version of the German Menge translation.
The Church has digitally published the 1939 public domain version of the German Menge translation. Credit: Screenshot from churchofjesuschrist.org

The first Bible translations into German date as far back as the ninth century. Five hundred years ago, the German Reformer Martin Luther began to translate the New Testament from Greek into German. At the beginning of the 20th century, German school principal Hermann Menge provided another translation of the Bible. The scholar, who had a doctorate in ancient language and history, combined two different translation methods: focusing on meaning while staying true to the original text. 

There are currently more than 40,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

The Church announced the digital publication of the Spanish scriptures, including the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, in December 2015.  

The Latter-day Saint edition of the Holy Bible in Portuguese was published in 2016. The edition, titled Bíblia Sagrada, Almeida 2015, is based on the 1914 edition of the João Ferreira Annes de Almeida translation of the Bible, which was selected because of the high quality of its translation, according to the Church News archives. It included study aids, such as footnotes and a topical reference guide. It took five years to prepare the Latter-day Saint edition of the Holy Bible in Portuguese, the article states.