Saturday, March 2, 2019
LutherÃ¢â¬â¢s Change of Mind Essay
This paper argues that Martin Luther (1483-1546) changed his mind ab go forth the Jews, shifting from a friendly to a hostile position, because of mental anxieties, his constant health problems, old age, and disappointment that Jews were non commuteing to Christianity. Luther was dissatisfied that Jews did not accept rescuer Christ, although his criticisms of the Jews were theological not racial. The telephone circuit that a direct line can be drawn from Luther to Hitler and that Luther sh ares damn for the final solution, is rejected.This does not imply that Luthers hostility towards Jews did not influence Hitlers ideas and policies still rejects the attri bution of Hitlers final solution to Luther. In his get-go ext cease text on Jews, Luther wrote If we re exclusivelyy want to help Jews, we moldiness be guided in our dealings with them not by overblown law but by the law of Christian love. Sources and synopsis of Argument The primary sources for Luthers views of Jews and of Judaism are his writing. He wrote That deliveryman was natural a Jew in 1523, which represents his early, friendly attitude.He wrote his negative, hostile tract, On the Jews and their Lies in 1543. His last sermon, preached at Eisleben a few days before his finish was against the Jews, and can be taken as representing his final position. These writings submit to be placed in the context of Luthers biography and of historic circumstance. In order to contextualize these primary sources, secondary sources are consulted. These take Heiko Augustinus Obermans Luther Man between graven image and the Devil (1989) and Derek A Wilsons let out of the Storm The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther (2008).The essay begins with the content and context of Luthers writing on Jews against the background of older Christian attitudes, against which Luther initi in ally reacted. Luthers initial position, his final position and the reason for his change of mind are identified. The essay then discu sses the charge that Luther should study been tried alongside perpetrators of the final solution at the Nuremberg Trials, where defendant and former Nazi propagandist, Julius Streicher (1885-1946 ) said Anti-Semitic publications have existed in Germany for centuries.A handwriting I had, written by Dr. Martin Luther, was, for instance, confiscated. Dr. Martin Luther would precise probably sit in my place in the defendants dock today, if this book had been taken into consideration by the Prosecution. In this book The Jews and Their Lies, Dr. Martin Luther writes that the Jews are a serpents brood and one should burn d protest their synagogues and end them The conclusion argues that although Luthers position did change, the claim that he shares responsibility for the Holocaust fails.Hitler and his supporters manipulated Luther for their own purposes, while a fundamental difference separates him from them. Luther, it is true, supported the deportation of Jews and the destruction of Judaic property but not their extermination. Analysis of Luthers Initial station Luther led the Protestant Reformation when he stick on his 95 Thesis to the door of the Cathedral at Wittenberg, where he was an Augustinian priest and University teacher. Luther saw his Reformation as a breath of fresh sort blowing through the Church, sweeping aside false doctrines and corrupt practices that obscured the real Christian gospel.Justification before God was by faith in Jesus Christ and was freely available, not a commodity that the Pope could sell. His exposition of the Bible and the hymns he wrote for congregational singing were all intended to misrepresent Christianity directly accessible to ordinary believers, who did not have to depend on the mediation of priests any much. People could enjoy direct fellowship with God. Luther laid out to challenge many commonly accepted notions about the Christian faith.Aware of a long history of Christian animosity toward Jews and Judaism, Luther reminded Christians that the own Bible had been written by Jews and that Jesus was himself Jewish, a fact a lot overlooked or still deliberately ignored in much than Christian thought. In advocating kinder treatment of Jews, his hope was that this would extend in their conversion. This high-flown Luthers attitude toward Jews from what has been described as the traditional teaching of contempt, a term coined by Jules Isaac (1877-1963), a friend of Pope conjuration XXIII.The teaching of contempt blamed Jews for murdering God (the charge of deicide), taught that having rejected and killed Jesus Jews were no longer Gods good deal but served the Devil, they were denied rights of citizenship, banned from most professions, banned from living wherever they wished to while travel restrictions and a dress code were also imposed on them. All of this consisted of papal decrees as head as national and city level lawful codes. God had condemned the Jews to wonder the earth as a lesson to others of what happens when a people turn their back on God.Enforced conversions, deportation, pogroms were all justified by the teaching of contempt. Jews were accused of concealing the truth within their texts, so the Talmud was sometimes destroyed. Anti-Semitism, however, started before the birth of Christianity. Paul Johnson describes Greek animosity towards Jews and their religion, citing several sources. These include Appollinius Molon, Posidonius, Democritus and Plutarch all of whom wrote anti-Jewish polemic. The Jewish race had been cursed from the beginning of time.Jews sacrificed asses heads in their tabernacle as well as secret human sacrifices, which explained why no outsider could enter the inner-most chambers. Jews were regarded as haters or despisers of the human race because they kept themselves apart, did not inter-marry and refused to recognize the Gods and goddesses of the ancient world. Although Rome extended certain exemptions to the Jews, the Romans increasingly regarded Jews as problematic as revolt followed revolt until eventually all exemptions were overturned and Jews were banned from residing in Palestine following the revolt of 132.Christian anti-Semitism picked up on many of the same polemic, accusing Jews of theft Christian boys at Passover and sacrificing them, the blood-libel which surfaced first in England in 1144. Efforts were made to convert Jews and those who did convert were usually assimilated into the wider society, although some were accused of remaining secretly Jewish. In 1519, Luther contrasted a purge by a former Jew, Johann Pfefferkorn (1469-1523) who cherished to burn Jewish books. Then, in his 1523 pamphlet, he advocated kindness and love toward Jews.What happened to harden Luthers heart and to change his mind so that he by and by supported book-burning and other anti-Jewish measures? Luthers Change of Mind and End Position Luthers life has been described as a constant postulate between God and d emon. Jesus and God and the possibility of forgiveness for all people who turn in repentance to God were real to him but so was Satan and Satans opposition to God and to the Christian religion. Chaos he believed resulted when Satan triumphed. It was fear that social catastrophe would result from the Peasants Revolt of 1525.The Peasants had expected Luther to support them, since his Reformation had given ordinary Christians overmuch more control over their own faith. However, Luther sided with the princes and denounced the rebellion as an umbrage against God and the work of Satan the fire of revolt was spreading, and if not look into would have widespread, disastrous results. As Luther grew older and inc increasingly ill, he became more and more aware that the battle between good and evil, God and Satan was out-of-the-way(prenominal) from over.He began to see the Devil everywhere, says Poliakov. Luther wanted to reform the Church, not create a schism and grew increasingly annoy ed that the pope refused to crab a council to consider his proposals, saying in 1535 that he would attend a council even knowing that he might be burned. When a council was indefinitely postponed in 1539, Luther became somewhat embittered. Luthers language could be intemparate, even crude. He was a man of fierce passion as well as of profound faith.The older he grew, the more willing he became to see Satans hand behind anything that hindered the Reformations progress. In 1536, as the possibility of a reforming council receded, the Elector of Saxony was preparing to tucker out all Jews from his realm. This had the sanction of the Church and was no bolt out of the bluing. Thinking that an appeal to Luther for clemency might prevent this, the Jewish leader, Josel von Rosheim (1480-1554) approached him, supposing him to be a friend of the Jews. Not only did Luther refuse to intervene but reversed his earlier position, publishing On the Jews and their Lies. If he had power, he wrote, he would install fire to synagogues and schools then bury with dirt whatever did not burn. Jews were to be expelled unless they converted. Their ill-gotten gains should be confiscated. All this was to be done so that God may see that we are Christian. In his final sermon, he described Jews as public enemies yet he still show his love for them.His tactics towards them not his estimate of their worth in Gods sight had changed. He never supported murdering Jews. What he wrote pull heavily, too, on existing anti-Jewish polemic. He was deeply disappointed that Jews were not converting. wherefore Luther cannot be blamed for Hitlers final solution Luthers tracts were reprinted during the trine Reich. Hitler described Luther as a German Hero. In the wake of how the tierce Reich used Luther to justify their crimes, the whole world capitalized upon Luther, the fierce Jew-baiter. However, no proceeding Luther proposed was not already Church and state policy and what Luther advocated was very far from being a final solution. Oberman points out that German Jews were among the most assimilated lodge when Hitler rose to power, suggesting that this makes the idea that an unbroken line exists between Luther and Hitler implausible. Hitler recruited Luthers legacy but manipulated this for his own purposes. It was no coincidence that Kristallacht took place on Luthers birthday, November 11, 1938 but this was sheer opportunism, backed by a perversion of scholarship. Luther ended up supporting deportation but only of Jews who refused to convert Hitler set out to exterminate a whole race, including Jews who were Christian. Luther did not hate the Jewish race. He wanted them to become Christians. There is, says Wilson, no well get the better of path that can be traveled from Wittenberg to Auschwitz. He suggests that Luther would have opposed Hitlers dictatorship. It is, however, true that no other pamphlet than On the Jews and their Lies has caused more harm to Luthers re putation, says Wilson.Nonetheless, the view that Luther was an ally of the Nazis in carrying out their Final Solution does not withstand critical scrutiny of what Luther in truth wrote.ReferencesBennett, Clinton. In Search of Jesus (London & NY Continuum, 2001). Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Translated by Ralph Manheim. (Boston Houghton Mifflin, Sentry Edition, 1971) Goring, H. Trial of the study war criminals before the International legions Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945-1 October 1946 ( Nuremberg, Germany International Military Tribue, 1947).