Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Rare books a treasure worth sharing

One of the best kept secrets of the library here at ALC, is the extensive rare book collection, which includes a large collection of German rare books (about 1400). You may be interested to know that the oldest book is a 1521 edition of St Ambrose ‘Concerning Priestly Worthiness’ bound together with a 1523 edition of St Isidore ‘Concerning Ecclesiastical Offices’. There is also a 1522 edition of Erasmus' translation of the Epistles of Paul.

Of particular interest to Lutherans is an original edition of the Book of Concord from 1580. This was brought to Australia by the family of J.P. Oster in 1859, and donated to the ALC Library by the family of the late Pastor Otto Thiele in 1980. This book is often brought into chapel when the presentation of the Augsburg Confession is celebrated on campus, during community worship on 25 June.

The library is also privileged to own a 1551 edition of the 'Luther Bible'. It is a priceless heirloom of the Reformation, brought to Australia as a treasured family possession by German immigrants in the nineteenth century and was presented to the Immanuel Seminary, a forerunner of ALC, by J.E. Kotzur in 1954. The Luther Bible is an early printed work, published in Wittenberg in Germany in 1551. It was produced in the workshop of Hans Lufft, the town printer, who printed most of Luther’s works. The particular beauty of the Luther Bible is in its illustrations which are hand-painted woodcuts. The rich colours of the woodcuts have survived since they have been kept out of the light in a closed book for the last 450 years.

Through ALC you can obtain high resolution, unwatermarked copies of some of the images from the Luther Bible, for non-commercial, scholarly and educational purposes.

To find out more or to book a time to view this extensive rare book collection, please contact the ALC Library on (08) 7120 8270.