Records in the niedersächsisches Landesarchiv show the mathematician Richard Dedekind was specific about how he wanted a certain aphorism of his reported. He had given it in 1878 and he wanted it reported as
„Wir sind göttlichen Geschlechtes und besitzen ohne jeden Zweifel schöpferische Kraft nicht blos in materiellen Dingen (Eisenbahnen, Telegraphen), sondern ganz besonders in geistigen Dingen."
He specifically objected to putting „Natur" in place of „Geschlechtes" but he gave no further reason for this.
The quote is an obvious alteration of Apostelgeschichte (Acts) 17:29 and I would like to figure out which other changes Dedekind made. You might think this is an easy question--just compare Dedekind's words to the original. But it is not easy because at least two relevantly different versions occurred in the Luther bible in the first place.
While the reference to railroads and telegraphs is obviously not in Luther it echoes what is in some but not all of Luther's translations. In the 1522 first version Luther wrote of „menschlichen kunst vnnd tichtung." His final 1545 bible version reduces that to „menschliche gedancken."
You can imagine the difference of „kunst vnnd tichtung" from „gedancken" would make a difference to German materialists in the line of Ludwig Feuerbach, for example.
It may be impossible to ever find what Dedekind had in mind, but who knows what further information may lurk in the niedersächsisches Landesarchiv? I would like some orientation on what sources were likely familiar to Dedekind in 1878.
To forestall misunderstanding I am not asking how Luther should have translated the passage or what it really means, or whether Dedekind was inspired by either the Holy Ghost or Feuerbach in making his changes. If anyone happens to know documentation showing Dedekind read Feuerbach that would be interesting but probably no one does.