The necessity of a text-critical apparatus is directly evident where the edition of letters, for the first time, goes back to the manuscripts standing behind older or more recent printed versions used heretofore. Since the Bedencken and Consilia are wide-spread and are used intensively in Spener research, the text-critical apparatus must show the variants in the multiple transmissions of the text appearing in these volumes. Obvious, easily recognizable printing errors in the older published volumes are not included. The same applies to the more recent partial editions of Spener’s letters used up to the present because these, too, are not free from errors. Purely orthographic variants, as well as the differing use of abbreviations, are disregarded.
The text-critical apparatus offers the textual variants appearing in the various transmissions. In the manuscript transmissions, the variants perceptible in the development of the letter are shown. These often demonstrate in an interesting way how Spener polished his letters. Spener proceeded in different ways with his corrections. In letters to his friend and colleague Spizel, for example, he did not shy away from using deletions, additions in the margins, and transpositions of words. But, on the other hand, he preferred to retain a copy of a letter of recommendation that he spoiled by adding corrections. This then served him as a draft and his own copy, which he then used as a basis for rewriting his text in a stylistically improved form as the letter to be handed to the recipient.
Also recorded are all the conjectures that, in the case of Latin letter texts, often were necessary. This is true, above all, where the texts are transmitted only in the Consilia, which the Baron von Canstein had already declared to be “unusable” because of their “many 1000s of errors”. These errors concern not only the text as such, but also the dating of letters.
The scribal signs mentioned above are used to designate the forms of transmission. In the cases in which different issues or editions of a printed text show textual variants, they are distinguished in the text-critical apparatus as D1, D2 etc. This is always the case for letters printed from Spener’s Theologische Bedencken and Letzte Theologische Bedencken. Individual printings cannot be distinguished in regard to the Consilia. The individual copies contain pages with and without press corrections as a result of binding quite different sheets together.
The position numbers of the text-critical apparatus refer to the line numbers and use the following signs:
a) description of the variants in letter development
|insertedt over he line
|crossed out in the manuscript
|| fides | „fides“
|introduced from the left margin
|fides < fidei „fides“
|corrected from „fidei“ by overwriting
|unreadable crossed-out word
|religio ] + <fides>
|after „religio“ a crossed-out „fides“
|/fides/ : <religio>
|„fides“ inserted over the line for crossed-out „religio“
|religio/ : <fides(?)>
|„religio“ inserted over the line for a crossed-out word, presumably „fides“
|ama/bam/ < ama <veram>
|correction of „amaveram“ to „amabam“ by crossing out the ending „-veram“ and replacing it with a „-bam“ inserted over the line
b) for showing variants in transmission
|religio ] fides: D
|text variant D compared with printer’s master text
|as above, but without mention of the reference word if this is clearly recognizable
|religio ] -D2
|„religio“ is lacking in D2
|religio ] + me: D
|D prints a „me“ not in the printer’s master text after „religio“
|mein ] sein: D2+3
|variants of the second and third issue/edition compared with the first ex ] &: D*
|ex ] &: D*
|Faulty form in one or several copies of D, which was corrected in the standing printed text as a press correction