As Martin Luther talked his friends and associates wrote. But only a small portion of the recorded table talk conversations have been translated from the German into English, making me slightly jealous of friends who can read German, but slightly less so since Charles Daudert translated and published his 500-page Off the Record with Martin Luther: An Original Translation of the Table Talks (Hansa-Hewlett, 2009).
I’m no translation expert but it’s clear the book was carefully translated because the back cover warns readers to expect “blunt, explosive, often abusive, and many times course” language. Sounds authentic. The new book reveals a number of glimpses into Luther’s life and ministry that we would not get from any other sources, like Luther’s marriage reconciliation strategy (as recorded in the winter of 1532):
Doctor Martin Luther had traveled with Count Johann [Johann von Küstrin] to his sister [Margarehte von Brandenburg] and attempted a reconciliation between her and her husband [Johann II von Anhalt-Zerbst]. When he returned, he said: Oh, Dear God, how much energy and work will it take to bring them back together, and then after that much more effort just to keep them together! Adam’s fall so damaged our nature that we are completely unstable. It flows back and forth like quicksilver. Oh, if we could only get them to sit down at table and go to bed together! [p. 53]
There you have it.