Luther, Anti-Semitism

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When discussing Martin Luther (1483-1546), a German monk, priest, and professor, we usually think of his importance to the Protestant reformation. Martin Luther sought to reform the church, which believed money could wipe away sin, and have people focus more on faith. He created the Ninety-Five Thesis in 1517 which resulted in the Pope excommunicating him from the church. In turn he created the Lutheran church in hope that people would find salvation through faith in Jesus rather than indulgences. However, what most people do not know about Luther is his hate for the Jews.

There was not always a time that Martin Luther was an enemy of Jewish people. In fact, in 1523, “Luther was actively lobbying for the elimination of obstacles to Jewish conversion” (Oberman, pg 45). He also wrote That Jesus Chris was Born a Jew and throughout the book stands up for the Jews when AntiSemitism was very heavy at that time in Europe. Luther states, “When the Jews then see that Judaism has such strong support in Scripture, and that Christianity has become a mere babble without reliance on Scripture, how can they possibly compose themselves and become right good Christians?” He accepts that Judaism base their faith so strongly on the Bible, while Christianity fails to do so. Luther also sees the Jewish people as the people honored by God; “God has also demonstrated this by his acts, for to no nation among the Gentiles has he granted so high an honor as he has to the Jews” (Luther, pg 229). So what turned a man who defiantly stood up for the Jews against them? In 1536, Elector of Saxony John Frederick issued a mandate that prohibited Jews from inhabiting, engaging in business in, or passing through his realm. A Rabbi asked Luther to obtain an audience in front of the prince to lobby against these actions. Yet, Luther declines by saying, “I would willingly do my best for your people but I will not contribute to your [Jewish] obstinacy by my own kind actions. You must find another...
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