The Wagner Hitler Loved
Quotes from Martin Luther
‘On Jews and their Lies’ – Index
The theology of Martin Luther has had a profound influence over modern day Protestant Christianity, in particular Luther’s interpretation of ‘Salvation by faith’ which remains the driving ideological justification for the type of Christian evangelism we are so familiar with today. Luther’s ‘faith’ however has a dark side, intolerance and the damnation of dissent and difference and this aspect of both his character and his theology are clearly revealed in one of Luther’s less celebrated works ‘On the Jews and their lies’, justifiably believed to have contributed much to the Nazi Holocaust during the Second World War. Luther’s ‘salvation by faith’ included a doctrine of ‘damnation for not believing’ and in his case this even included damnation for ‘having faith’ in doctrines which differed from those doctrines in which Luther had faith. While much emphasis is placed on Luther’s doctrine of ‘no salvation by works’ in truth, an examination reveals that Luther’s doctrine of ‘faith’ was in greater part ‘salvation by faith in doctrines’ and this leads directly to the modern saying by certain Christian sects that ‘I am not without sin, just forgiven’ (in otherwords ‘works’ and ‘deeds’ are not the criteria used to determination ‘salvation’ in this expression of the Protestant faith, but rather a person is ‘saved’ by ‘believing doctrine’ and it is this belief in correct doctrine that is emphasized by Luther and thus defines what is meant by ‘faith’. For example you will hear evangelists teaching that you will be saved ‘based on how you answer this question – Who was Jesus’ and in the end one is saved by believing certain doctrines (thus having ‘faith’) and one can also ‘claim to be a Christian’ but nevertheless ‘go to hell’ for believing ‘incorrect doctrines’). The totalitarian nature of Luther’s doctrine of ‘faith’ and its stubborn insistence on correct ‘doctrine’ (‘faith’) is clearly illustrated in Luther’s anti-semetic attack on the Jews. The better part of the first half of his essay concentrates on the correct doctrinal interpretation of scriptural passages, interpersed with attacks on the Jewish people for deviating from these orthodox interpretations. In the mid section of his essay Luther gives his advice on how to treat Jews, all of which was put into literal practice by the Nazis during the Holocaust, and in the final section of his essay Luther concentrates on railing at the Jews for not being Christians and for deviating from ‘faith’ in Christian doctrine (the true means to salvation ‘by faith’ in the Protestant system Luther developed – salvation by faith in correct beliefs, which explains the Protestant intolerance for deviation in doctrine and the emphasis on ‘believing doctrines’ which is the defining characteristic of so much protestant religion to this very day).
Selected Quotes from ‘On Jews and their lies’
Luther’s Attacks on the Jews
for incorrect interpretation of scripture
The first section of Luther’s missive against the Jewish people consists of an extremely lengthy quarrel over the interpretation of scripture passages, interspersed with insults and angry denunciations. Luther’s interpretation of scripture remains standard fare to this day (his interpretations of the book of Daniel are still the de facto interpretation used by many ‘fundamentalist’ churches to this very day). His attacks on the Jews as ‘leeches’ who steal the wealth of nations was not only a major component of Hitler’s propaganda attacks but also remain the standard feature of neo-nazi attacks on Jewish people to this day…
It is not my purpose to quarrel with the Jews, nor to learn from them how they interpret or understand Scripture; I know all of that very well already. Much less do I propose to convert the Jews, for that is impossible. Those two excellent men, Lyra and Burgensis, together with others, truthfully described the Jews’ vile interpretation … If these blows do not help, it is resonable to assume that our talking and explaining will help even less …
Listen, Jew, are you aware that Jerusalem and your sovereignty, together with your temple and priesthood, have been destroyed for over 1,460 years? … Let the Jews bite on this nut and dispute this question as long as they wish … I am not a Jew, but I really do not like to contemplate God’s awful wrath toward this people. It sends a shudder of fear through body and soul, for I ask, What will the eternal wrath of God in hell be like …
No prophet has ever been able to raise his voice in protest or stand up against them, not even Moses. For in Numbers 16, Korah arose and asserted that they were all holy people of God, and asked why Moses alone should rule and teach. Since that time, the majority of them have been genuine Korahites; there have been very few true Israelites. For just as Korah persecuted Moses, they have never subsequently left a prophet alive or unpersecuted, much less have they obeyed him …
So it became apparent that they were a defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut … a disobedient, evil people and as the vilest whore, although they boasted so much of the law of Moses, or circumcision, and of their ancestry … However wicked they may be, they presume to be the noblest lords over against us Gentiles, just by virtue of their lineage and law. Yet the law rebukes them as the vilest whores and rogues under the sun … they are full of malice, greed, envy, hatred toward one another, pride, usury, conceit, and curses against us Gentiles. Therefore, a Jew would have to have very sharp eyes to recognize a pious Jew … this subject is beyond the ken of the blind and hardened Jews. Speaking to them about it is much the same as preaching the gospel to a sow. They cannot know what God’s commandment really is, much less do they know how to keep it …
be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils … they know they are steeped in manifest vices mently, just as the devils themselves do. And where you see or hear a Jew teaching, remember that you are hearing nothing but a venomous basilisk who poisons and kills people … The devil with all his angels has taken possession of this people … Jews, Turks, papists, radicals abound everywhere. All of them claim to be the church and God’s people in accord with their conceit and boast, regardless of the one true faith …
If I had not had the experience with my papists, it would have seemed incredible to me that the earth should harbor such base people who knowingly fly in the face of open and manifest truth, that is, of God himself. For I never expected to encounter such hardened minds in any human breast, but only in that of the devil. However, I am no longer amazed by either the Turks’ or the Jews’ blindness, obduracy, and malice … What do you hope to accomplish by engaging an obstinate Jew in a long dispute on this? It is just as though you were to talk to an insane person and prove to him that God created heaven and earth, according to Genesis 1, pointing out heaven and earth to him with your hands, and he would nevertheless prattle that these are not the heaven and earth mentioned in Genesis 1, or that they were not heaven and earth at all, but were called something else, etc … Yes, vile devil, just mock and laugh your fill over this now; you will still tremble enough for it … And as little as they can change flesh and blood, marrow and bone, so little can they change such pride and envy. They must remain thus and perish, unless God performs extraordinarily great miracles … Therefore, dear Christian, be advised and do not doubt that next to the devil, you have no more bitter, venomous, and vehement foe than a real Jew … Therefore the history books often accuse them of contaminating wells, of kidnaping and piercing children … I do know that they do not lack the complete, full, and ready will to do such things either secretly or openly where possible …
If you do not want to believe me, read Lyra, Burgensis, and other truthful and honest men. And even if they had not recorded it, you would find that Scripture tells of the two seeds, the serpent’s and the woman’s … Why, their Talmud and their rabbis record that it is no sin for a Jew to kill a Gentile, but it is only a sin for him to kill a brother Israelite. Nor is it a sin for a Jew to break his oath to a Gentile. Likewise, they say that it is rendering God a service to steal or rob from a Goy … The Jews still persist in such doctrine to the present day. They imitate their fathers and pervert God’s word. They are steeped in greed, in usury, they steal and murder where they can and ever teach their children to do likewise … there is no remission of sin for these Jews, no prophet to console them with the assurance of such forgiveness, no definite time limit for their punishment, but only interminable wrath and disfavor, devoid of any mercy …
If they weren’t so stone-blind, their own vile external life would indeed convince them of the true nature of their penitence. For it abounds with witchcraft, conjuring signs, figures, and the tetragrammaton of the name, that is, with idolatry, envy, and conceit. Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us … Alas, it cannot be anything but the terrible wrath of God which permits anyone to sink into such abysmal, devilish, hellish, insane baseness, and arrogance. If I were to avenge myself on the devil himself I should be unable to wish him such evil and misfortune as God’s wrath inflicts on the Jews …
There is no other explanation for this than the one cited earlier from Moses, namely, that God has struck them with “madness and blindness and confusion of mind.” So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them. Rather we allow them to live freely in our midst despite an their murdering, cursing, blaspheming, lying, and defaming ..
One the Jews and their Lies
The Complete Text
2. Jewish ancestors
Luther attempts to keep the authority of the Bible, while at the same time denying the Jews any connection to the stories of their ancestors, such as Abraham. In general, Luther will rely on Paul’s argument from Romans that ‘not all Jews are really the children of Abraham’.
Luther attacks the Jews for boasting about circumcision as ‘the sign of their covenant with God.’ Once again Luther will be recycling Paul’s argument from Romans as well as other similar letters…
Luther attacks Jews based on certain passages where Moses also criticizes Jews in an attempt to carry on the argument that ‘today’s Jews are not real Jews but rather devils.’
Luther attempts to nullify claims Jews were making to the promises of God as illustrated in the Canaan stories.
Luther quarrels with Jews over traditional Christian interpretations of prophecy.
7. Jacob and David
Once again Luther attempts to make the case that promises made to Jacob or David have nothing to with the Jews of his time.
Jeremiah was a Christian, and not Jewish, according to Luther.
Once again Luther is recycling the argument from Romans, in this case insisting that Jews have no right to insist that the passages regarding an ‘eternal covenant’ have anything to do with the Jews of his time.
Luther accuses the Jews of being bigots.
11. Haggai and the temple
Luther once again quarrels with the Jews over the traditional Christian interpretation of prophecy.
Luther quarrels with the Jews over the interpretation of the book of Daniel, using arguments that remain standard fare to this day.
13. Poor Jesus
Luther accuses the Jews of persecuting Jesus and his ‘poor Mother’ for no reason.
14. Jews persecuting Christians
Luther insists that Christians must endure wide spread persecution, bigotry and oppression at the hands of the Jews. These sorts of arguments will be recycled centuries later by Hitler.
15. Luthers final solution ot the Jewish problem
Point by point Luther gives advice to the political leaders and the pulpit on how to go about persecuting Jews. His advice will be taken literally by Hitler and the Nazi party resulting in the Holocaust.
16. New Testament
Luther reveals the true nature of his doctrine of ‘justification by faith.’ Faith means belief in orthodox doctrines, as Luther reveals when he attacks the Jews for not believing in the Church Testament, which is continuation of his earlier attacks on the Jews for not interpreting the Jewish Testament according to Orthodox Christian belief.
17. The final solution reprised.
Luther repeats his demands for persecution of the Jews by the political powers and from the pulpit, on the pains of eternal damnation for sharing in their unbelief by tolerating their differences in faith (the flip side, the dark side, of Luthers doctrine of ‘justification by faith’ which in practice means justification by belief in certain doctrines).
18. Jewish Messiah is a sow
Using a deliberately insulting analogy to ‘pork’ (an ‘unclean food’) Luther insists that belief in the Jewish Messiah makes one a sow, in otherwords an ‘unclean pig’.
19. Miracles and conclusion
Luther goes on about the miracles constantly being done by the church, and then concludes his diatribe