The research unit’s task and goal is the critical and commented complete edition of Philipp Melanchthon’s correspondence, which comprises about 9,750 pieces. This edition is one of the fundamental source catalogues for exploring the German and European history of the early modern period. It presents Melanchthon’s extensive correspondence for the first time in a philologically critical and precise chronological manner. Melanchthon’s pre-eminent position in the history of Reformation theology and church and the central importance of his universal humanism for European educational history are thus revealed.
The printed edition of “Melanchthons Briefwechsel” is arranged in two series:
1. The register book with registers and manuscript index. The regests are German tables of contents; they offer an initial indexing by means of comprehension aids and exact dating. Letters, expert opinions, prefaces, and related documents from the years 1514-1560 are structured and commented on; the places and persons appearing in the correspondence are treated in their own index volumes.
2. The critical edition presents the mainly Latin, but also German and Greek texts in a reader-friendly form. In addition, the hand-written and printed documents are listed. In addition, four apparatuses document the genesis, textual criticism, and impact history as well as sources, quotations and literary allusions.
Bibliographic reference: Melanchthon’s correspondence. Critical and commented complete edition, commissioned by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, edited by Heinz Scheible, since 2010 by Christine Mundhenk. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, Publisher Frommann-Holzboog, 1977 ff.
Since 2010, the texts of the register volumes printed in 1977-1998 have also been available in an online version free of charge, which is regularly updated and allows users to search the letters specifically for persons and periods of time, but also for topics and terms such as “justification”,“interim” or “illness”.