Antisemitism of Martin Luther


‘They are our public enemies. They do not stop blaspheming our Lord Christ, calling the Virgin Mary a whore, Christ, a bastard, and us changelings or abortions. If they could kill us all, they would gladly do it. They do it often, especially those who pose as physicians—though sometimes they help—for the devil helps to finish it in the end. They can also practice medicine as in French Switzerland. They administer poison to someone from which he could die in an hour, a month, a year, ten or twenty years. They are able to practice this art.’

– Walch. J.G. (1883) Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche Schriften [The Collected Works of Martin Luther] St. Louis, United States: Concordia, Volume 12, p. 1264-1267

‘[Luther’s] opposition to the Jews, which ultimately was regarded as irreconcilable, was in its nucleus of a religious and theological nature that had to do with belief in Christ and justification, and it was associated with the understanding of the people of God and the interpretation of the Old Testament. 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.’

– Brecht. M. (1993) Martin Luther – The Preservation of the Church 1532-1546 Minneapolis, United States: Fortress Press, Volume 3, p. 350-351

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