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Reproduction of Texts

from manuscripts and from printed texts, orthography and punctuation

​Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig
​Research Centre
Spenerbriefe Edition
​in the Francke Foundations
Franckeplatz 1 | Haus 24
06110 Halle

Tel: +49 345 55 23073 / 75

Reproduction of Texts


Reproduction of the Texts from Manuscripts

If a letter exists as an autograph from Spener (sent letter, draft, or a copy in his own hand), textual variants from secondary manuscripts (contemporary or later copies) are not taken into consideration. When handwritten letters are transmitted in printed form, completely or only in part, deviations in the print from the original text are noted in the text-critical apparatus. This is done because the printed versions have been used and cited by research in most cases.

Reproduction of the Text from Printed Texts

The Letzte Theologische Bedenken appeared in two editions (1711, 1721), the Theologische Bedenken in three (1700-1702, 1707-1709, 1712-1715). Each of these editions were reset in new type. Since each of these resettings are exactly identical – except for minor differences, such as the omission of a letter not originating from Spener – previous research has not taken notice of the differing editions when citing from these volumes. However, the three volumes of the Bedenken show not only numerous orthographic differences, which are to be attributed above all to the printers, but also include genuine textual variants. It definitely makes a difference whether one speaks of „deroselben gnade“ in regard to love or of „deroselben grade“, whether fasting is described as a „löbliche“ or merely a „leibliche“ exercize, whether something „ereignet“ or „erreget“, „geschmecket“ or is „geschencket“. In the transformation of a „herrlich gestärcket“ to a „hertzlich gestärcket“, in the end, the triumph of Pietism even within the printing history of Spener’s Bedenken is revealed.

On the other hand, Spener‘s Latin Consilia were published in only one edition (1709). But, this edition offers its own problems. Here, it is not only the abundance of printing errors affecting even names and dates and a syntax partly corrupted by false punctuation that cause problems, but the edition also shows variance within the  same printing in the form of so-called press corrections. This means that printing errors discovered after the printing of the first few sheets were occasionally corrected immediately in the standing printed text before the printing process was continued. Thus, individual variants appear in individual printed copies depending upon which printed sheets were bound together.

The first editions of Spener‘s Theologische Bedencken and Letzte Theologische Bedencken are taken as the master text. Still, the corrected text of the second edition had to be consulted repeatedly (cf. the fundamental editorial principles, Frankfurt Letters, vol. 3, p.VII). Only relevant and conspicuous variants in the printed editions are noted in the text-critical apparatus. Where two or more transmissions of the text exist in further transmission media, the volumes of the Bedencken and the Consilia as a rule offer the poorer text and, therefore, more variants for the apparatus. Later printings of Spener’s letters that do not make use of manuscript material and are based exclusively on the Bedencken and Consilia are not consulted as independent media of transmission.

Orthography and Punctuation

The Edition follows the recommendations in Empfehlungen zur Edition frühneuzeitlicher Texte (cf. Jahrbuch der historischen Forschung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Berichtsjahr 1980, Stuttgart 1981, pp. 85–96.). In particular, this means

a) in the German texts:
the inventory of consonants is preserved, but u and v as well as i and j are used to reproduce a certain phonetic value; spellings with s, ss, and ß are that of the original; abbreviations and ligatures are written out, and the abbreviation for „das/daß“ is written out according to the intended meaning.

b) in the Latin texts:
j is written as i; abbreviations are written out without acknowledgement when they are obvious; in the printed transmission, a printed „&“ is written as „et“, but „&“ is retained where Spener himself used it in the manuscript transmission. The use of capitals and lower-case letters has been normalized, but capitalization is retained
where it has the conscious function of expressing respect (in Ecclesia, DEUS, ille Vir, Vestra Civitas, for example).

Word forms that do not appear in classical Latin are retained if they were current in the seventeenth century and are used regularly by Spener. Such forms are:

arctus (=artus), ceptus (=coeptus), collimare (=collineare), haecce (=haece), iam dum (= iam dudum), quinimo (=quin im[m]o), quoad (=quod ad); ferner die Zusammenschreibung von Formen mit „ipse“ (mihiipsi, reipsa, Teipso, nobismetipsis etc.) sowie: quamplurimi (=quam plurimi) und simulvero (=simul vero).

Punctuation has been simplified to a great extent to aid in the understanding of the texts. Unusual punctuation is retained where it fulfils a clear rhetorical function. The comma replaces the virgule used in old printed texts. The use of the hyphen to divide Latin words follows the recommendations in the grammar by Rubenhauer and Hofmann (Hans Rubenhauer and Johann B. Hofmann, Lateinische Grammatik, neubearbeitet von Rolf Heine, 9. Aufl., Bamberg u.a. 1975, 3.).
Editorial additions are placed in square brackets. The following specific examples mean:


Gap in the text (because of damage to the page, for example); where conjectured additions seem possible, these are found in square brackets.


Uncertain reading.


Irremediable corruptions.

All abbreviations and scribal signs in the stereotypical salutations and valedictions have been retained. Refer to the register of  abbreviations and scribal signs for their meanings. Unusual and ambiguous abbreviations, or those found in only one letter, and in connection with datings, proper names, and book titles are cited in their entirety or explained in the notes.

The typical shortened complimentary close „manu propria“ is written in simplified form as „Mppria“.

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