• Aslam Abdullah

Martin Luther's Treatise on Jews

Martic Luther Martin Luther, (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, priest, author, composer, Augustinian monk and a seminal figure in the Christian Reofrmation. He wrote a book on Jews entitled The Jews and their lies. The book is vulgar and anti-Jews and antisemitic..

Here a few excerpts from the book.

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. However, the devil is the God of the world, and wherever God's word is absent, he has an easy task, not only with the weak but also with the strong. May God help us. Amen.

* * *

He did not call them Abraham's children, but a "brood of vipers" [Matt. 3:7]. Oh, that was too insulting for the noble blood and race of Israel, and they declared, "He has a demon [Matt 11:18]. Our Lord also calls them a "brood of vipers"; furthermore, in John 8:39,44, he states: "If you were Abraham's children ye would do what Abraham did.... You are of your father the devil. It was intolerable to hear that they were not Abraham's but the devil's children, nor can they bear to hear this today.

* * *

Therefore, the blind Jews are foolish fools...

* * *

Now behold these miserable, blind, and senseless people ... their blindness and arrogance are as solid as an iron mountain.

* * *

Learn from this, dear Christian, what you are doing if you permit the blind Jews to mislead you. Then the saying will indeed apply, "When a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into the pit" [cf. Luke 6:39]. You cannot learn anything from them except how to misunderstand the divine commandments...

* * *

Therefore, be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that nothing is found wherever they have their synagogues. Nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and vehement his eyes on them.

* * *

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 using their accursed usury. Thus, they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security.

* * *

However, they have not acquired a perfect mastery of the art of lying; they lie so clumsily and ineptly that anyone who is just a little observant can easily detect it. But for us Christians, they stand as a terrifying example of God's wrath.

* * *

If I had to refute all the other articles of the Jewish faith, I should be obliged to write against them as much and for as long a time as they have used for inventing their lies­­ that is longer than two thousand years.

* * *

* * *

Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?

* * *

Alas, it cannot be anything but the terrible wrath of God which permits anyone to sink into such abysmal, devilish, hellish, insane baseness, envy, and arrogance. Suppose I were to avenge myself on the devil himself. In that case, I should be unable to wish him such evil and misfortune as God's wrath inflicts on the Jews, compelling them to lie and to blaspheme so monstrously, in violation of their conscience. Anyway, they have their reward for constantly giving God the lie.

* * *

No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.

* * *

...but then eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God's anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!

* * *

Over and above that we let them get rich on our sweat and blood, while we remain poor and they such the marrow from our bones.

* * *

We all can get rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews. Do not grant them protection, safe conduct, or communion with us.... With this faithful counsel and warning, I wish to cleanse and exonerate my conscience.

* * *

However, we must avoid confirming them in their wanton lying, slandering, cursing, and defaming. Nor dare we make ourselves partners in their devilish ranting and raving by shielding and protecting them, by giving them food, drink, and shelter, or by other neighborly

* * *

Therefore, we Christians, in turn, are obliged not to tolerate their wanton and conscious blasphemy.

* * *

Let us save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and eternal death.

* * *

What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct now that we know their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing, and blasphemy. Thus, we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God, we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. 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. It is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom so that God might know that we are Christians and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and his Christians. For whatever we accepted in the past unknowingly ­ and I was unaware of it ­ will be pardoned by God.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed, for they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead, they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. It will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they live in exile and captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that we ban all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, with such idolatry, lies, cursing.

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10.] in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death.

Fifth, I advise that safe conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. They have no business in the countryside since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let them stay at home..

* * *

Sixth, I advise abolishing usury for them and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With it could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God's blessing in a good and worthy cause.

Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it does not fit that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.

* * *

But what will happen even if we burn down the Jews' synagogues and forbid them publicly to praise God, pray, teach, and utter God's name? They will still keep doing it in secret. If we know that they are doing this in secret, it is the same as doing it publicly. Our knowledge of their secret doings and our toleration implies that they are not secret after all, and thus our conscience is encumbered with it before God.

* * *

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is:

* * *

First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulfur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire. That would demonstrate to God our serious resolve and be evidence to all the world that it was in ignorance that we tolerated such houses, in which the Jews have reviled God, our dear Creator and Father, and his Son most shamefully up till now but that we have now given them their due reward.

* * *

I wish and I ask that our rulers who have Jewish subjects exercise a sharp mercy toward these wretched people, as suggested above, to see whether this might not help (though it is doubtful). They must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in, proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did in the wilderness, slaying three thousand lest the whole people perish. They surely do not know what they are doing; moreover, as people possessed, they do not wish to know it, hear it, or learn it. There it would be wrong to be merciful and confirm them in their conduct. If this does not help, we must drive them out like mad dogs, so that we do not become partakers of their abominable blasphemy and all their other vices and thus merit God's wrath and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Now let everyone see to his. I am exonerated."

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