Dr. Suzanne Hequet, church historian with focus on Reformation Studies, has been studying a recent “find” in the Special Collections of the library at Concordia St. Paul. The book in question is a 1581 Concordia—better known to American Lutherans as the Book of Concord. This book is recognized by all Lutherans world-wide as the historic doctrinal standard, authoritative for Lutherans since the sixteenth century.
Of key importance to Hequet is that this appears to be an original Concordia or Book of Concord. Generally, the Book of Concord is dated 1580, published in Dresden by Stöckel and Bergen. But as can be seen clearly on the title page, this particular book is dated 1581. This is only the first thing that peeked Hequet’s interest. Next, inside the cover and on the front page is handwriting by four or five different people dating from as early as the 1580s to perhaps sometime in the 1890s. It appears the last entry implies the volume was given to Concordia at or near its founding, as one of a few important books for the initial library collection—perhaps in 1893 or 1894.
The goal of my work is to investigate how this book fits into the context of original 1580 Book of Concord editions. I am also transcribing and translating handwriting by members of the Hunnenberger family—the original owners and a signer of the Book of Concord—and additional later entries by others. Hopefully, these transcriptions and translations will unlock the mystery of how the book came to be in the CSP library collection.