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On the Jews and Their Lies

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On the Jews and Their Lies (Original German: "Von den Jüden und iren Lügen", Modern German: "Von den Juden und ihren Lügen") is an anti-Semitic pile of crap in 13 parts by Martin Luther, released in 1543. He had had sympathy with the Jews for not converting to Catholicism, but when they didn't convert to his religion, well, the Jews must be of the devil, mustn't they? It's the only possible explanation.

I shall give you my sincere advice: First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians.

Section XI of the treatise advises Christians to carry out seven remedial actions. These are:

  1. to avoid Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them;
  2. to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians[1];
  3. for Jewish religious writings to be taken away;
  4. for rabbis to be forbidden to preach;
  5. to not offer protection for Jews on highways;
  6. for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed, put aside for safekeeping and given back to Jews who truly convert; and
  7. to give young, strong Jews flail, axe, spade, spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their noses.[2]

How much influence would the intense bigotry of a key leader of Protestant thought have on Germany and on Christendom? WikipediaWikipedia's W.svg states:

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. Four hundred years after it was written, the Nazis displayed On the Jews and Their Lies during Nuremberg rallies...

Luther does get a favorable nod from Hitler in the latter's book Mein Kampf as being one of the "great reformers."[3]

Of course, some people (including some theologians, naturally enough) disagree with the mainstream view, arguing that Luther's bigotry actually had little effect. Even if this were true, this hateful extended rant can hardly have helped Germany to be filled with Christian love. Its use to lend support to Nazi anti-Semitism would be shocking to many Christians who consider Luther a hero of the faith.

Only in the 1980s did some Lutheran church bodies start to dissociate themselves from Luther's hatred and bile toward the Jews, more than 400 years after its publication.[citation needed]

Not surprisingly, the book has been reprinted by "evangelist" Texe Marrs, whose website store is peppered with anti-Semitic and Holocaust revisionist books.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. i.e. forcing them to live in GhettoWikipedia's W.svg
  2. Luther, Martin. The Jews and Their Lies, (Publisher: Christian Nationalist Crusade, 1948).
  3. Hitler, Adolph, Mein Kampf, Reynal & Hitchcock, New York, 1939 p,287