Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Popes' Publisher

On the afternoon the day before yesterday Red Baron joined the Museumsgesellschaft for a visit to the Herder Verlag (publishing house). It was Bartholomä Herder who founded the Verlag in Freiburg in 1810. He was one of the founders of the Lesegesellschaft, too, the precursor of the Museumsgesellschaft. Therefore I had written a short biography of Bartholomä that served as my basis for an article in the German Wikipedia.

Meanwhile the publishing house is in its sixth generation with Manuel Herder at the helm.

The Man and his realm. Manuel Herder showing us his "palace".
The following cartoon shows Manuel's ancestors hovering over the Herder headquarters. The founder Bartholomä is shown with a halo. Over the entrance to the building you can read: Geist schafft Leben taken from John 6,63: The spirit gives life.

From the start the Herders have above all published religious literature. So Manuel had a good hand when he made a contract with Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, publishing his books. Later when Josef was Pope Benedict XVI, he not only came to Freiburg but paid Manuel Herder and the Verlag a visit.

Ad multos libros (To(o) many books?).
Writer maniac Ratzinger? (©Herder)
Presently the Herder Verlag is publishing a scholary edition of Joseph Ratzinger's complete works in 16 volumes. In the photo in the Badische Zeitung Manuel is handing volume 4 to the former pope: Einführung in das Christentum (Introduction to Christianity).

Manuel Herder with former Pope Benedict XVI presenting the book (©Herder/BZ)
On the occasion Manuel also met Pope Francis and presented him with the printed edition of the speeches the pontiff had delivered in Strasbourg at the European Institutions on November 25, 2914, entitled: Europa, wach auf! (Europe, wake up!). Francis was greatly astonished and asked: Already ready?

Manuel Herder with Pope Francis presenting the Strasbourg book.
On the left Vatican's Georges Clooney Cardinal Gänswein (©Herder/BZ)
Yes, like the pope we were impressed. The family-owned Herder Verlag is definitely technologically state-of-the-art. Needless to say, most of its books are simultaneously published as e-books.

A Herder masterpiece from the 19th century, the Rheingräntz-Carte

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