Paul Halsall argues that Luther's views had a part in laying the groundwork for the racial European antisemitism of the nineteenth century. He writes that "although Luther's comments seem to be proto-Nazi, they are better seen as part of tradition [sic] of Medieval Christian anti-semitism. While there is little doubt that Christian anti-semitism laid the social and cultural basis for modern anti-semitism, modern anti-semitism does differ in being based on pseudo-scientific notions of race.
The Nazis imprisoned and killed even those ethnic Jews who had converted to Christianity: Luther would have welcomed their conversions. In his Lutheran Quarterly article, Wallmann argued that Luther's On the Jews and Their Lies , Against the Sabbabitarians , and Vom Schem Hamphoras were largely ignored by antisemites of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
He contended that Johann Andreas Eisenmenger and his Judaism Unmasked , published posthumously in , was "a major source of evidence for the anti-Semites of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries" and "cast Luther's anti-Jewish writings into obscurity". In this page tome Eisenmenger makes no mention of Luther at all. However, this party did not enjoy the mass support which the Nazis received during the s, when the Great Depression hit Germany especially hard. At the heart of the debate about Luther's influence is whether it is anachronistic to view his work as a precursor of the racial antisemitism of the Nazis.
Some scholars see Luther's influence as limited, and the Nazis' use of his work as opportunistic. The prevailing scholarly view  since the Second World War is that the treatise exercised a major and persistent influence on Germany's attitude toward its Jewish citizens in the centuries between the Reformation and the Holocaust. Martin Brecht argues that there is a world of difference between Luther's belief in salvation, which depended on a faith in Jesus as the messiah — a belief Luther criticized the Jews for rejecting — and the Nazis' ideology of racial antisemitism.
Hillerbrand states that the view that "Luther significantly encouraged the development of German anti-Semitism Ronald Berger writes that Luther is credited with "Germanizing the Christian critique of Judaism and establishing anti-Semitism as a key element of German culture and national identity. The line of "anti-semitic descent" from Luther to Hitler is "easy to draw",  according to American historian Lucy Dawidowicz.
In her The War Against the Jews, — , she writes that both Luther and Hitler were obsessed by the "demonologized universe" inhabited by Jews, with Hitler asserting that the later Luther, the author of On the Jews and Their Lies was the real Luther.
Dawidowicz writes that the similarities between Luther's anti-Jewish writings and modern antisemitism are no coincidence, because they derived from a common history of Judenhass , which can be traced to Haman's advice to Ahasuerus. Although modern German antisemitism also has its roots in German nationalism and Christian antisemitism, she argues that a foundation for this was laid by the Roman Catholic Church, "upon which Luther built".
Michael argues that there is a "strong parallel" between Luther's ideas and the antisemitism of most German Lutherans throughout the Holocaust.
They could be saved only if they converted to Christianity, but their hostility to the idea made it inconceivable. Luther's sentiments were widely echoed in the Germany of the s, particularly within the Nazi party. It has been decided that we shall be the first to witness his reappearance I think the time is past when one may not say the names of Hitler and Luther in the same breath.
They belong together; they are of the same old stamp [ Schrot und Korn ]". Hans Hinkel , leader of the Luther League 's magazine Deutsche Kultur-Wacht , and of the Berlin chapter of the Kampfbund , paid tribute to Luther in his acceptance speech as head of both the Jewish section and the film department of Goebbel 's Chamber of Culture and Propaganda Ministry. To continue and complete his Protestantism, nationalism must make the picture of Luther, of a German fighter, live as an example 'above the barriers of confession' for all German blood comrades.
According to Daniel Goldhagen , Bishop Martin Sasse, a leading Protestant churchman, published a compendium of Luther's writings shortly after Kristallnacht , for which Diarmaid MacCulloch , Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford argued that Luther's writing was a "blueprint". Reading such passages, it is hard not to agree with him. Luther's proposals read like a program for the Nazis. In the course of the Luthertag Luther Day festivities, the Nazis emphasized their connection to Luther as being both nationalist revolutionaries and the heirs of the German traditionalist past.
An article in the Chemnitzer Tageblatt stated that "[t]he German Volk are united not only in loyalty and love for the Fatherland, but also once more in the old German beliefs of Luther [ Lutherglauben ]; a new epoch of strong, conscious religious life has dawned in Germany.
Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, — The leadership of the Protestant League espoused a similar view. In a letter to Hitler, Fahrenhorst reminded him that his "Old Fighters" were mostly Protestants and that it was precisely in the Protestant regions of our Fatherland" in which Nazism found its greatest strength.
Promising that the celebration of Luther's birthday would not turn into a confessional affair, Fahrenhorst invited Hitler to become the official patron of the Luthertag. In subsequent correspondence, Fahrenhorst again voiced the notion that reverence for Luther could somehow cross confessional boundaries: Fahrenhorst's claim that the Nazis found their greatest strength in the Protestant areas of Germany has been corroborated by scholars who have studied the voting patterns of Germany from — It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority.
He wanted Germany rid of the Jews. Luther's advice was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering and Himmler. His position was entirely religious and in no respect racial. Bainton's view is later echoed by James M. Kittelson writing about Luther's correspondence with Jewish scholar Josel of Rosheim: Moreover, Luther never became an anti-Semite in the modern, racial sense of the term.
Paul Halsall states,  "In his Letters to Spalatin, we can already see that Luther's hatred of Jews, best seen in this letter On the Jews and Their Lies, was not some affectation of old age, but was present very early on. Luther expected Jews to convert to his purified Christianity.
When they did not, he turned violently against them. Jerome, some paragraphs in Sir Thomas More, and some chapters in the Book of Revelation, and, must say, as of a deal else in Christian history, that their authors had not so learned Christ. According to Heiko Oberman , "[t]he basis of Luther's anti-Judaism was the conviction that ever since Christ's appearance on earth, the Jews have had no more future as Jews.
Richard Marius views Luther's remarks as part of a pattern of similar statements about various groups Luther viewed as enemies of Christianity. Although the Jews for him were only one among many enemies he castigated with equal fervor, although he did not sink to the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition against Jews, and although he was certainly not to blame for Adolf Hitler, Luther's hatred of the Jews is a sad and dishonorable part of his legacy, and it is not a fringe issue.
It lay at the center of his concept of religion. He saw in the Jews a continuing moral depravity he did not see in Catholics. He did not accuse papists of the crimes that he laid at the feet of Jews.
Robert Waite, in his psychohistory of Hitler and Nazi Germany, devoted an entire section to Luther's influence on Hitler and Nazi ideology. He noted that in his Mein Kampf , Hitler referred to Martin Luther as a great warrior, a true statesmen, and a great reformer, alongside Richard Wagner and Frederick the Great.
Waite also compared his psychoanalysis with Erik Erikson 's own psychohistory of Luther, Young Man Luther , and concluded that, had Luther been alive during the s, he most likely would have spoken out against Nazi persecution of Jews, even if this placed his life in danger, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Lutheran pastor did.
Martin Brecht in his extensive three-volume biography of Luther writes that "an evaluation of Luther's relationship with the Jews must be made. Economic and social motives played only a subordinate role. Luther's animosity toward the Jews cannot be interpreted either in a psychological way as a pathological hatred or in a political way as an extension of the anti-Judaism of the territorial princes.
But he certainly demanded that measures provided in the laws against heretics be employed to expel the Jews—similarly to their use against the Anabaptists—because, in view of the Jewish polemics against Christ, he saw no possibilities for religious coexistence. In advising the use of force, he advocated means that were essentially incompatible with his faith in Christ. In addition, his criticism of the rabbinic interpretation of the Scriptures in part violated his own exegetical principles.
Therefore, his attitude toward the Jews can appropriately be criticized both for his methods and also from the center of his theology. Luther, however, was not involved with later racial anti-Semitism. There is a world of difference between his belief in salvation and a racial ideology.
Nevertheless, his misguided agitation had the evil result that Luther fatefully became one of the "church fathers" of anti-Semitism and thus provided material for the modern hatred of the Jews, cloaking it with the authority of the Reformer.
In , theologian Stephen Westerholm argued that Luther's attacks on Jews were part and parcel of his attack on the Catholic Church—that Luther was applying a Pauline critique of Phariseism as legalistic and hypocritical to the Catholic Church. Westerholm rejects Luther's interpretation of Judaism and his apparent antisemitism but points out that whatever problems exist in Paul's and Luther's arguments against Jews, what Paul, and later, Luther, were arguing for was and continues to be an important vision of Christianity.
Michael Berenbaum writes that Luther's reliance on the Bible as the sole source of Christian authority fed his later fury toward Jews over their rejection of Jesus as the messiah. Early in his life, Luther had argued that the Jews had been prevented from converting to Christianity by the proclamation of what he believed to be an impure gospel by the Catholic Church , and he believed they would respond favorably to the evangelical message if it were presented to them gently. He expressed concern for the poor conditions in which they were forced to live, and insisted that anyone denying that Jesus was born a Jew was committing heresy.
Graham Noble writes that Luther wanted to save Jews, in his own terms, not exterminate them, but beneath his apparent reasonableness toward them, there was a "biting intolerance", which produced "ever more furious demands for their conversion to his own brand of Christianity" Noble, 1—2.
When they failed to convert, he turned on them. In his commentary on the Magnificat , Luther is critical of the emphasis Judaism places on the Torah , the first five books of the Old Testament. He states that they "undertook to keep the law by their own strength, and failed to learn from it their needy and cursed state. Paul Johnson writes that "Luther was not content with verbal abuse. Even before he wrote his anti-Semitic pamphlet, he got Jews expelled from Saxony in , and in the s he drove them from many German towns; he tried unsuccessfully to get the elector to expel them from Brandenburg in Michael writes that Luther was concerned with the Jewish question all his life, despite devoting only a small proportion of his work to it.
In rejecting that view of Jesus, the Jews became the "quintessential other ,"  a model of the opposition to the Christian view of God. In an early work, That Jesus Christ was born a Jew , Luther advocated kindness toward the Jews, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity: Along with antisemitism itself, Luther's harsh anti-Jewish statements in his On the Jews and Their Lies and other writings have been repudiated by various Lutheran churches throughout the world.
Since the s, some Lutheran church bodies have formally denounced and dissociated themselves from Luther's writings on the Jews. In the Lutheran World Federation issued a consultation stating that "we Christians must purge ourselves of any hatred of the Jews and any sort of teaching of contempt for Judaism. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , in an essay on Lutheran-Jewish relations, observed that "Over the years, Luther's anti-Jewish writings have continued to be reproduced in pamphlets and other works by neo-Nazi and antisemitic groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Writing in Lutheran Quarterly in , Dr. The assertion that Luther's expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented anti-Semitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion.
In the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America publicly rejected Luther's antisemitic writings,  saying "We who bear his name and heritage must acknowledge with pain the anti-Judaic diatribes contained in Luther's later writings.
We reject this violent invective as did many of his companions in the sixteenth century, and we are moved to deep and abiding sorrow at its tragic effects on later generations of Jews. In the same year, the Land Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria , on the 60th anniversary of Kristallnacht , issued a declaration  saying: It has to distance itself from every [expression of] anti-Judaism in Lutheran theology. Believers should bless them as scripture says that God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.
Prayer is offered for the healing of the Jewish people, their peace and their prosperity. Prayer is offered for the peace of Jerusalem. With deep sorrow and regret repentance is offered to the Jewish People for the harm that Martin Luther caused and any contribution to their harm. Forgiveness is requested of the Jewish People for these actions. The Gospel is to the Jew first and then the Gentile. Gentiles believers in Christ other than Jews have been grafted into the vine.
In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile but the Lord's desire is that there be one new man from the two for Christ broke down the wall of separation with His own body Ephesians 2: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Part of a series on Antisemitism Part of Jewish history. History of antisemitism Timeline Reference. Hunter William Luther Pierce. Antisemitism on the Web. Boycotts General Order No.
On the Jews and Their Lies. Warning Against the Jews Luther's Works , American Edition, 55 vols. Concordia Publishing House and Fortress Press, —86 Henry Preserved Smith Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, , 1: Birch Lane Press, , p.
Brandt, in Luther's Works Philadelphia: Fortress Press, , pp. Fortress Press, — , 3: The Council of Christians and Jews, , According to "Archived copy".
Archived from the original on Image Books, , p. The Jew in the Medieval World , p. Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust. Palgrave Macmillan, , p. Bertram, in Luther's Works. On The Jews and Their Lies. Retrieved 9 February RNBN Publishers; 2nd edition Bertram, in Luther's Works Philadelphia: Fortress Press, , Fortress Press, , 3: Concordia, , Augsburg Fortress Press; Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, — , A 20 volume extension of the 55 volume collection of Luther's Works has been begun by Concordia Publishing House: A History of the Jews , p.
Politics and Polemics, —46 Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, , pp. Aldine De Gruyter, , Simon and Schuster, A History of the Jews New York: HarperCollins Publishers, , From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews.
University of Pennsylvania Press, , The World Must Know. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, , Europe's House Divided, — Concerning baptism Luther was opposed to the Anabaptists who refused to baptise young children.
For those who took part in the Last Supper, the bread and the wine, along with the promises of salvation, were at the same time the body and the blood of Christ. In the Schmalkaldian Articles, written in , Luther reasserted his points of view on justification through faith, on the secondary role of deeds, on condemning mass as a sacrificial ritual and on the harmful effects of cloistered life.
They were extremely critical. The judgement on monastic vows was published in , three years before Luther left the Augustinian Order. It was a voluminous text against monasticism. It was dedicated to his father who had disapproved of his entering a monastic life in Luther considered that his vows were opposed to faith, evangelical freedom, commandments and reason. He particularly criticised the vow of chastity. In , his Appeal to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation on Christian state amendment was addressed to the Emperor and the German nobility, here Luther dealt with the universal priesthood of Christians and the ecclesiastical responsibility of the temporal power ; he suggested abolishing the celibacy of priests and masses for the dead, and reforming education.
On temporal authority and the limitations in obeying it was published in Luther exalted temporal authority, based on divine laws, but rejected faith-imposed obligations. Luther also pondered over the use of weapons. He put out his views in several different treatises, namely On temporal authority in and Can soldiers be in a state of grace? In his War against the Turks Luther admitted the role of the Emperor but questioned his universal power, because he was neither at the head of Christianity nor the protector of the Gospel and of faith.
During his last years alive, Luther seemed to confuse Jews, Turks, papists and sectarians , all accused of favouring the Antichrist.
MARTIN LUTHER'S WRITINGS: Sermons, Commentary & other Works Within his writings you can access other study helps [ bible, theology, commentary, sermons, and more ].
Writings of Martin Luther at Project Wittenberg [External Site] Writings of Martin Luther: This page has a selection of the writings of Martin Luther. Martin Luther's 95 Theses  Small Catechism Large Catechism. Sermons of Martin Luther Enemies of the Cross of Christ.
Index Verborum-- Martin Luther's German Writings is an one-of-a-kind reference work provided at Boston College. This on line concordance to works of Luther between the years , provides the location of a word in the Weimar Ausgabe printing of the original texts. I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition (Martin Luther King, Jr., born January 15, ) Apr 29, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder (or Ludher, later Luther) and his wife Margarethe (née Lindemann) on 10 November in Eisleben, County of Mansfeld in the Holy Roman Empire. The county was a small territory geographically located near the Electorate of Saxony to which it was eventually mediatized in ; the county was included in the Upper Saxon Circle. Martin Luther: Martin Luther, German theologian and religious reformer who initiated the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Through his words and actions, Luther precipitated a movement that reformulated certain basic tenets of Christian belief. Learn about his life, education, writings, excommunication, and legacy.