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Here he stood: Lutheran pilgrims travel to Germany on Reformation anniversary

Wartburg Castle, in the town of Eisenach, in the state of Thuringia, Germany. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

EISENACH, Germany (RNS) — As the American pilgrims approached Wartburg Castle, they let their imagination rewind five centuries to the night when Martin Luther was “kidnapped” by masked horsemen and hustled deep into the forest.

The German monk-turned-reformer’s life was in danger after his writings were deemed heretical by Roman Catholic leaders and he gave his defiant “Here I stand” speech at the Diet of Worms, so a prince who was concerned about his safety ordered the abduction.

The pilgrims walked up the steep hill to the castle, where Luther spent 10 months from 1521 to 1522 in hiding, and one of them huffed, “No wonder they never found him!”

Hikers follow the Luther Adventure Trail up to the Wartburg Castle. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The group was on a 10-day tour of Luther Country — sites in Germany that played an important role in the reformer’s life — conducted in June by St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minn., to coincide with the 500th anniversary year of the Reformation.

“It was amazing to imagine what it must’ve been like,” Patte Edwards of Wheaton, Ill., said over lunch after the trek up to the castle.

“When you see the actual layout of the things that you’ve read about, it’s just amazing. It becomes so much more vivid and lifelike. It’s really emotional.”

Jim and Patte Edwards of Wheaton, Ill., stumbled across St. Paul-Reformation’s trip when Patte realized 2017 was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and her husband Jim began reaching out to Lutheran seminaries around the country to see if any would be touring Germany’s Luther sites. Patte, who grew up Lutheran, wanted to reconnect with her heritage. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The Americans also visited Eisleben, where Luther was born and died; Erfurt, where he studied at university and then entered the Augustinian monastery; and Leipzig, where he famously debated Johann Eck and where Johann Sebastian Bach later composed the music of the Reformation.

The irony of a Luther pilgrimage, given that it was one of the Catholic spiritual practices Luther himself was bent on reforming, was not lost on the Rev. Patrick Shebeck, pastor of St. Paul-Reformation.

“For all of Luther’s vehemence against the veneration of relics, that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Shebeck said.

St. Paul-Reformation Pastor Patrick Shebeck agreed the tour was something like a Lutheran pilgrimage, something that would have surprised Martin Luther. “I think like a juvenile way of viewing relics or pilgrimage is it’s a magical thing — it has magical powers — but why have people done that over the centuries?” Shebeck said. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Planeloads of Protestants have been visiting Germany in the year leading up to Oct. 31. On that date in 1517 Luther reportedly nailed his 95 theses — or objections to Catholic practices — to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, sparking the Reformation.

Across central Germany, “Luther 2017” banners hung from towers and city halls, bearing Luther’s cartoon face and the phrase “Am Anfang war das Wort” — “In the beginning was the Word” — a reference to his emphasis on Scripture alone.

The Wartburg Castle, the Lutherhaus in Wittenberg — the former cloister where Luther and his wife Katharina von Bora made their home — and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin all are hosting national exhibitions related to Luther and the Reformation.

The Lutherhaus in Eisenach, thought to be where Martin Luther lived with relatives while attending the Latin School as a child. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Wittenberg, the town perhaps most closely linked to Luther and the Reformation, was expecting to double the number of visitors this year, by official estimates. The town gets about 1 million visitors in an average year, and tourism was up 12 percent through March, before the busy summer travel season and fall anniversary, according to Elke Witt, manager of the Welterbe Region.

Wittenberg hosted a World Reformation Exhibition during the summer and erected a 360-degree panorama installation by artist Yadegar Asisi showing what the town might have looked like in 1517. Its two churches — the Castle Church and St. Mary’s, the “mother church” of the Reformation — had been closed years in advance for restoration work.

Kurt Hendel, a retired professor of Reformation history at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, has led a half-dozen travel seminars in the past two decades for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S.

At first, he didn’t think of it as a pilgrimage. But, he said, “It became very apparent to me very quickly.

“The person, the place — that impacts you affectively, not just rationally,” said Hendel, who accompanied the group from St. Paul. “It affects your feelings, your soul, rather than just your brain where you gather information and take pictures and say, ‘Oh, that’s right, that was the city church.’”

Kurt Hendel traveled with the group from St. Paul-Reformation Church, giving topical lectures on the places they visited and the Reformation. He’s given a half-dozen travel seminars since 2000. Before that, it never occurred to him to call them pilgrimages. Hendel is Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor Emeritus of Reformation History at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

It puts not flesh and blood, but “stone and timber” to sites many people only have read about, according to Mark Hollabaugh of Woodbury, Minn., who helped organize the trip for St. Paul-Reformation.

Hollabaugh recalled stumbling into a rehearsal of a cantata for the Bach Festival at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

“Here we are, listening to Bach, and there he is, 20 feet away under several feet of stone, I’m sure. Here we are in the church he wrote the music for, listened to the music,” he said. “It was just overwhelming.”

Mark Hollabaugh (left) and his spouse Jon Moe (right) of Woodbury, Minn., helped organize St. Paul-Reformation’s tour of Luther Country. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The impact of the trip also has to do with identity, according to Hendel. Many Lutherans grew up hearing stories about the reformer from their parents and pastors and memorizing “Luther’s Small Catechism,” and many can trace their ancestry to Germany.

But for Shebeck, St. Paul-Reformation’s pastor, one of the most moving moments of the trip came not at one of Germany’s many Luther sites. It was at Buchenwald, the World War II concentration camp for Jews. Hendel had talked with the group there about Luther’s anti-Semitic writings, later used as Nazi propaganda.

“I think people want a saint to be perfect, and I think saints are probably real,” he said. “They’re not perfect.”

Neither are pilgrimages “magic,” the pastor added. But people continue to make them, even Lutherans, because “physical places have a sort of power or energy that people can feel.”

“If you go to a place where something happened, it doesn’t matter if you’re Lutheran or Catholic or whatever — I think there’s a human need for physicality,” he said. “To see the door (of the Castle Church) or to see the Wartburg (Castle) helps people to understand better and to make it part of their own story.”

Shebeck doesn’t think Luther is rolling in his grave at the idea his followers are making a pilgrimage to it.

“I think it’s OK,” he said. “Nobody is praying to Luther or thinking their salvation is dependent on this.”

(Reporting from Germany on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation was made possible in part by funding from the German National Tourist Board.)

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

39 Comments

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  • “Kurt Hendel … [having] led a half-dozen travel seminars in the past two decades for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America … had talked with [this pilgrims] group … about Luther’s anti-Semitic writings, later used as Nazi propaganda. ‘I think people want a saint to be perfect, and I think saints are probably real,’ he said. ‘They’re not perfect.'”

    “Not perfect”?! Tell that to my Jewish brothers & sisters, brother Kurt Hendel. Better yet, here, in his own words, let brother Martin Luther tell it to their faces: “We are at fault in not slaying them [the Jews] … God’s anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!” (Source: Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, translated by Martin H. Bertram, in Luther’s Works, Fortress, 1971.)

  • It is quite likely that at the time Luther wrote such words, he was Non compos mentis.

  • I was curious about this. Part of my background is history. Anyway I asked my Catholic chaplain what he thought about this and he agreed. He said that in Luther’s early writings he was more kindly inclined to the Jews but that his mental state is known to have degraded as he grew older. This was written a few years before his death. He then said something I didn’t expect. He said even the Catholic church today acknowledges that Luther played an important role in correcting the church and returning it to the message of Jesus. I love history. It is like a woven tapestry.

  • Thank you for reinforcing my point, and illuminating me on the generous spirit the Catholic Church has adopted with respect to this history.

  • It’s not a matter of convenience, but a legitimate hypothesis supported by a number of facts, and has been embraced by others besides myself. Fortunately, I don’t have to answer for Luther’s latter anti-Semitism, I have my own issues before God to answer for, and they are quite enough for me.

  • Nah-uh.

    According to Mark U. Edwards, “Luther’s Last Battles”, Concordia Theological Quarterly, Volume 48, Numbers 2 & 3, April-july 1984, pages 125-140:

    To Martin Luther, “contemporary Jewry was the remnant of a rejected people suffering under God’s wrath” and “thought he was attacking the devil himself” when “recommend[ing] … their synagogues and schools … be burned, their homes destroyed, their books seized, their rabbis forbidden to teach, and their money taken away from them. They should be put to work in the fields or, better yet, expelled from Germany. … Elector Johann Friedrich … encouraged and recommended Luther’s vehemence and even vulgarity … for works which attacked the Jews … The vulgarity and violence of the treatises of the old Luther may be partly attributable to Luther’s ill-health, world-view and beliefs, but some of the responsibility must be apportioned but to the changed, more political circumstances in which the Reformer found himself, and to the encouragement he received from Landgrave Philipp and Elector Johann Friedrich.” In other words, Martin Luther “was vulgar and abusive when he wished to be, moderate and calmly persuasive when it suited his purposes. But, most importantly, all the treatises of his old age, even the most crude and abusive, contained some exposition of the Protestant faith. Luther could never just attack; he always had to profess and confess as well.”

  • Excerpted above. But for your own self-debunking (I do it all the time because only God & Jesus are truth while the rest of humanity is hard of hearing), cf. or download for study the PDF for Mark U. Edwards, “Luther’s Last Battles”, Concordia Theological Quarterly, Volume 48, Numbers 2 & 3, April-july 1984, pages 125-140.

  • Apropos, you mean Martin Luther (again like Trump, not to be confused with King Junior, who also is not to be confused with the Brazilian World Cup football superstar, Junior, which also must never be confused with NFL football …), don’t you?

    AGREED.

  • A thoughtful scholar’s opinion, but it does not altogether negate my argument, which is supported by other scholars. Such cogent suppositions are readily available to the relatively indolent researcher.

  • This is a wonderful article about an important event that moved the development of the world in a great step forward. It led to the founding of German public schools, a basis for the German language similar to the King James Bible for English, and increases in hospitals. It brought needed reforms for the advancement of Christianity and set a good many people free from the oppression of the Roman Church as practiced in northern Europe.

    Many of the commenters are hung up on a side issue regarding the importance of Luther. They do not seem to see the main issue that Luther addressed at the time and the important changes in the development of Western society and Christianity that has had a lasting impact in the development of Europe, the Americas, Australia, parts of Asia and Africa.. The German states of the time were not involved in the Spanish inquisition conducted by Catholic Spain staring at the end of the 15th century before the Reformation and carried on for many years thereafter throughout the Spanish empire. The focus of these commentators is similar to talking about Washington, Jefferson and other slaveholding presidents as if that were the major impact of the founding fathers of the US. Likewise, World War II was about many things including avenging the losses of Germany from WW1, Fascism vs Communists, and expansion of the Japanese Empire. The holocaust was only one of many horrors and accounted for 10% of the 60 million people who died worldwide as a result of the war and the countless millions that suffered in Europe and Asia from the lasting impact of the war.

  • I don’t think you will but I’m asking you here anyway to, please, furnish a pair of info sources: (1) On the names of Martin Luther’s mental illnesses. And (2) on which ones of those diseases effectively turned him into an antisemite and influenced his writing in 1543 of On the Jews and Their Lies. Thanks in advance.

    To prep myself, I did research (1) and (2). Just so you know, though, I’ve got nothing on (2) but, as the following shows, plenty on (1). Neither his alleged Scrupulous OCD nor Depression, however, is claimed as the medical cause of Martin Luther’s antisemitism and the influences behind his On the Jews and Their Lies.

    1.1) SCRUPULOUS OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER: cf. JA Aho, Confession and Bookkeeping: The Religious, Moral, and Rhetorical Roots of Modern Accounting, State University of New York, 2005, pages 95-98. Also Elizabeth Landau, “Religious OCD: ‘I’m going to hell'”, CNN, May 31, 2014.

    1.2) DEPRESSION: cf. Richard Marius, Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death, Harvard University, 1999, pages 54, 439. Also Michael A. Mullett, Martin Luther, Routledge, 2004, page 256. Also Hans Schwarz, True Faith in the True God: An Introduction to Luther’s Life and Thought, Augsburg Books, 1996, page 33. Also Donald K. MacKim, The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther, Cambridge University, 2003, page 266. Also James F. Schaaf, Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation, 1483-1521, Fortress, 1993, page 210. Also Martin E. Marty, Martin Luther: A Penguin Life (Penguin/Viking, 2004, page 182. Also Robert Herndon Fife, The Revolt of Martin Luther, Columbia University Press, 1957, pages 62-65, 69-72.

  • The Catholic church was antisemitism in their reign over Spain and driving out jews.Luther had no part in that and Germany never enacted driving Jews out..so we have a revisionist talking hate here and making up lies as the LEFT usually does.
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  • once again Luther was a hero by decoding the biblical text from Latin to German and eventually to English for all to read what the scriptures TRULY say..and not hearsay by the Pope!

  • If the bible had not been interpreted..we would all be for a huge loss due to the Vatican’s desire to hold all the cards.

  • Per this “legitimate hypothesis supported by a number of facts, and has been embraced by others besides [your]self”? You’re not bluffing, so then please provide info (1) on the names of Martin Luther’s mental illnesses, and (2) on which ones of those diseases effectively turned him into an antisemite and influenced his writing in 1543 of On the Jews and Their Lies.

  • “If the bible had not been interpreted” by Martin Luther, “we would all be for a HUGE LOSS due to the Vatican’s desire to hold all the cards”, you claim, brother ARTPSYCH? So, what follows, then, is your idea of our bible churches’ HUGE GAIN from him?

    (1) “John records but few of the works of Christ, but a great deal of his preaching, whereas the other three evangelists record many of His works, but few of His words. It follows that the gospel of John is unique in loveliness, and of a truth the principal gospel, far, far superior to the other three, and St. Paul and St. Peter are far in advance of the three gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.” (Martin Luther, “Preface to Romans”, ed. Dillenberger, pp. 18-19.)

    (2.1) “Everyone may form his own judgement of this book [Revelation]; as for myself, I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is sufficient reason for rejecting it”. (Martin Luther, Collected Works, 63, 169-170.)

    (2.2) “This book of the Revelation of John …makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic … I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. … And there are many far better books available for us to keep … My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it”. (Martin Luther, “Preface to the Revelation of St. John”, 1522.)

  • I will grant that I found it admittedly difficult to find precisely the data you requested. The framing of the question may be a factor. However, there has actually been a great deal of hypothesizing with regard to Luther’s mental health, though it tends to focus on his entire career rather than his old age. Studies on his physiology and the impact it had on his mental state are even harder to root out, but I have time and I’m optimistic. I am confessedly not well versed enough in the technology to provide internet links, but I can provide information that will lead you to at least two lengthy commentaries on Luther’s mental health, though both documents report that psychological experts are loath to express a definitive diagnosis at this remove in both time and place. But here goes: Luther & Mental Illness, the author is Andrew Jasko; also Art of Attack.blogspot.com/2012/06/best-book-on-martin-luther-now.HTML. The latter is a rabid effort by a Catholic scholar(?) who refers to Luther as a heresiarch. I repeat my assertion that numerous physical ailments, and non-disabling mental and emotional incapacities, as well as a touch of ego (a new element in my thinking) contributed to Luther’s latter anti-Semitism. All these disabilities aside, such did not prevent him from have a dramatic impact on reforming the theology of the Church, primarily to the discomfiture of Catholics. Finally, Catholics and Protestants, viewed by most of both schools as common brethren, should embrace the fact that anti-Semitism has no place in Christian theology.

  • “Andrew Jasko”, you say, brother Edward Borges-Silva? If you say so, then, because:

    According to Andrew Jasko, “Mental Illness in Martin Luther: A Clear Diagnosis, Its Positive Role in his Life and Work as One of the World’s Most Impactful Revolutionaries and Visionaries”, Life After Dogma, April 17, 2014:

    (1) “Always anxious-obsessive-depressive, from childhood to death”, Martin Luther was “a peculiarly sick person” – by his own admission. The one word in the original German language he’d often use to describe what he was dealing with throughout his life, was “Anfechtungen” to mean everything from, as he put it, “melancholy” and “tribulations”, to “vain vexations” and “spiritual assaults”.

    (2) It was there all the time for him, this “Anfechtungen”, not only when Martin Luther wrote “On the Jews and Their Lies” and “On the Last Words of David” in 1543, but long before that. In fact, from “The 95 Theses” in 1517, “Preface to the Epistle of St Paul to the Romans” in 1522, and “The Bondage of the Will” in 1525; through “Lectures on Galatians” in 1535 and “Sermons on the Gospel of John” in 1532 and 1537; until “Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther‘s Latin Writings” in 1545 – “Luther’s theology is itself a work of and about Anfechtung.”

    (3) On the one hand, “Luther view[ed] Anfechtungen as coming from God for the purpose of sanctification … [and chose to] make them a normative and essential part of his new justification framework”. On the other hand, having still to deal with this mental illness, “he developed coping strategies, largely … by reframing and reconfiguring his theology. … Luther found such comfort in the objective revelation of Scripture because of the unreliability and volatility of his internal state.”

    (4) As it turned out, then, “Luther’s Anfechtungen [w]as God’s special qualification and preparation for service to the Church” after all. Even with regard to his proto-white supremacistic, antisemitic diatribe, “On the Jews and Their Lies”?!

    (5) In the case of Martin Luther, this is Andrew Jasko’s conclusion: “It is inexcusable to reject the insights of any mentally ill person on the grounds that he is mentally ill. … The insights of [Luther’s] experiences [that] forged a new theology … were tied to his mental illness in no insubstantial way.”

  • Trump gets in a lot of peoples conversation if they hate him- and show disrespect to those who voted for him So far his record: ISIS: Almost defeated in less than 9 months, Over 3.7 trillion in value to the stock market in less than 9 months by him de-regulating businesses to develop here in the USA and not go overseas and to bring back over a trillion dollars of corporate money at a one time 10% penalty. Healthcare almost complete, Iran: Trump confronts them unlike Ayatollah B.Hussein did not but paid them in advance billions$$$ before any inspections! Jobs are up. since 1973, lowest unemployment..due to de-regulation. But I suppose
    crybaby morons don’t like this who voted for the most criminally based hoochie name Hillary! Oh btw: this is the short list , I have better things to do than explain all the benefits that Trump has accomplished.
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  • When I toured Wittenberg I was disappointed to learn that he never actually said “Here I Stand.” Great line anyway.

  • Luther did not translate from the Latin. He used Erasmus’ Greek text. His was not the first German text. , The earliest known and partly still available Germanic version of the Bible was the fourth century Gothic translation of Wulfila (c. 311–80). This version, translated primarily from the Greek, established much of the Germanic Christian vocabulary that is still in use today. Later Charlemagne promoted Frankish biblical translations in the 9th century. There were Bible translations present in manuscript form at a considerable scale already in the thirteenth and the fourteenth century (e.g. the New Testament in the Augsburger Bible of 1350 and the Old Testament in the Wenceslas Bible of 1389). There is ample evidence for the general use of the entire vernacular German Bible in the fifteenth century.[1] In 1466, before Martin Luther was even born, Johannes Mentelin printed the Mentel Bible, a High German vernacular Bible, at Strasbourg…..This edition was based on a no-longer-existing fourteenth-century manuscript translation of the Vulgate from the area of Nuremberg. Until 1518, it was reprinted at least 13 times. In 1478–79, two Low German Bible editions were published in Cologne, one in the Low Rhenish dialect and another in the Low Saxon dialect. In 1494, another Low German Bible was published in the dialect of Lübeck, and in 1522, the last pre-Lutheran Bible, the Low Saxon Halberstadt Bible was published. In total, there were at least eighteen complete German Bible editions, ninety editions in the vernacular of the Gospels and the readings of the Sundays and Holy Days, and some fourteen German Psalters by the time Luther first published his own New Testament translation.[1] An Anabaptist translation by Ludwig Hetzer and Hans Denck was published at Worms in 1529.[2]

  • The Bible was available in many European languages centuries before Luther tried his hand: eg German, French, Czech, Polish, Italian, Bulgarian.

    Partial Bible translations into languages of the English people can be traced back to the late 7th century, including translations into Old and Middle English. More than 450 translations into English have been written….Although John Wycliffe is often credited with the first translation of the Bible into English, there were, in fact, many translations of large parts of the Bible centuries before Wycliffe’s work. The English Bible was first translated from the Latin Vulgate into Old English by a few select monks and scholars. Such translations were generally in the form of prose or as interlinear glosses (literal translations above the Latin words). Very few complete translations existed during that time. Rather, most of the books of the Bible existed separately and were read as individual texts. Thus, the sense of the Bible as history that often exists today did not exist at that time. Instead, an allegorical rendering of the Bible was more common and translations of the Bible often included the writer’s own commentary on passages in addition to the literal translation..

    French translations
    1226–1250, translation of Jean le Bon of the University of Paris
    Unfinished and continued in the 14th century by Jean de Sy and the Dominicans, Jehan Nicolas, Guillaume Vivien, and Jehan de Chambly.
    1297 the Bible historiale of Guyart Desmoulins or Guyart des Moulins
    Consisting of the Historia Scholastica of Petrus Comestor, a liberal translation of most of the Bible, and an assemblage of glosses and other materials from several sources. The content of the manuscripts is variable, and successive versions seem to add books of the Bible which were missing in Guyart’s original.
    1377, Bible de Charles V
    Translation by Raoul de Presles dedicated to Charles V
    Printed translations[edit]
    15th century[edit]
    1476, le Nouveau Testament
    Printed by Barthélemy Buyer in Lyon, translated from the Vulgate.
    1487, la Bible de Jean de Rély
    Printed for the first time in Paris and reprinted at least ten times in the fifty years that followed. It is an illustrated Bible, published from a late manuscript of the Bible historiale of Guyart des Moulins.
    16th century[edit]

    Czech
    The Czech literature of the Middle Ages is very rich in translations of Biblical books, made from the Vulgate. During the 14th century all parts of the Bible seem to have been translated at different times and by different hands. The oldest translations are those of the Psalter. The New Testament must also have existed at that time, for according to a statement of Wyclif, Anne, daughter of Charles IV, received in 1381 upon her marrying Richard II of England a Bohemian New Testament.
    It is certain that Jan Hus had the Bible in Bohemian before him as a whole and he and his successors undertook a revision of the text according to the Vulgate. The work of Hus on the Bible antedated 1412. During the 15th century the revision was continued. The first complete Bible was published at Prague in 1488 (the Prague Bible); other editions were issued at Kutná Hora in 1489, and Venice in 1506. These prints were the basis of other editions which were published from time to time.

    Polish
    The history of Polish-language translation of the Bible begins with the Psalter. The earliest recorded translations date to the 13th century, around 1280; however, none of these survive.[1][2][3] The oldest surviving Polish translation of the Bible is the St. Florian’s Psalter (Psałterz floriański), assumed to be a copy of that translation, itself a manuscript of the second half of the 14th century, in the abbey of Saint Florian, near Linz, in Latin, Polish and German.[1][2][4][5]
    A critical edition of the Polish part of the St. Florian’s Psalter was published by Wladysław Nehring[6] (Psalterii Florianensis pars Polonica, Poznań, 1883) with a very instructive introduction.

    Italian
    The first printed translation of the Bible into Italian was the so-called Malermi Bible, by Nicolò Malermi in 1471 from the Latin version Vulgate. Other early Catholic translations into Italian were made by the Domenican Fra Zaccaria of Florence in 1542 (the New Testament only) and by Santi Marmochino in 1543 (complete Bible).[1]

    Bulgarian
    The royal Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander is an illuminated manuscript Gospel Book in Middle Bulgarian, prepared and illustrated in 1355–1356 for Tsar Ivan Alexander of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The manuscript is regarded as one of the most important manuscripts of medieval Bulgarian culture. The manuscript, now in the British Library (Add. MS 39627), contains the text of the Four Gospels illustrated with 366 miniatures and consists of 286 parchment folios, 33 by 24.3 cm in size.[1]

  • with some people here who say Luther hated Jews was a ridiculous statement and no back up of verified information. Luther embraced the Bible and to think he hated Jews who wrote this book makes me believe it was a racist moron on this DISQUS dialogue. Idiots abound on social media!

  • Luther’s attitude toward the Jews changed over the course of his life. In the early phase of his career—until around 1536—he expressed concern for their plight in Europe and was enthusiastic at the prospect of converting them to Christianity through his religious reforms. Being unsuccessful in that, in his later career, Luther denounced Judaism and called for harsh persecution of its followers, so that they might not be allowed to teach. In a paragraph from his On the Jews and Their Lies he deplores Christendom’s failure to expel them.[1] Moreover, he proposed “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews”:[1]
    “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …”
    “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
    “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
    “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …”
    “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …”
    “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …”
    “Seventh, I recommend 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 … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …”

  • Anti-Jewish works[edit]

    Title page of Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies. Wittenberg, 1543
    Luther’s main works on the Jews were his 65,000-word treatise Von den Juden und Ihren Lügen (On the Jews and Their Lies) and Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ) — reprinted five times within his lifetime — both written in 1543, three years before his death
    In 1543 Luther published On the Jews and Their Lies in which he says that the Jews are a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.”[13] They are full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.”[14] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …”[15] He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness,[16] afforded no legal protection,[17] and these “poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time.[18] He also seems to advocate their murder, writing “[w]e are at fault in not slaying them”.[19] Luther claims that Jewish history was “assailed by much heresy”, and that Christ swept away the Jewish heresy and goes on to do so, “as it still does daily before our eyes.” He stigmatizes Jewish Prayer as being “blasphemous” (sic) and a lie, and vilifies Jews in general as being spiritually “blind” and “surely possessed by all devils.” Luther has a special spiritual problem with Jewish circumcision.[20][21] The full context in which Martin Luther advocated that Jews be slain in On the Jews and Their Lies is as follows in Luther’s own words:

    There is no other explanation for this than the one cited earlier from Moses – namely, that God has struck [the Jews] with ‘madness and blindness and confusion of mind’ [Deuteronomy 28:28]. 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.[22]
    Vom Schem Hamphoras[edit]

  • 1596 reprint of Vom Schem Hamphoras

    Judensau on the Wittenberg Church, built 1300–1470. The imagery of Jews in contact with pigs or representing the devil was common in Germany.
    Main article: Vom Schem Hamphoras
    Several months after publishing On the Jews and Their Lies, Luther wrote the 125-page Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ)’, in which he equated Jews with the Devil:
    Here in Wittenburg, in our parish church, there is a sow carved into the stone under which lie young pigs and Jews who are sucking; behind the sow stands a rabbi who is lifting up the right leg of the sow, raises behind the sow, bows down and looks with great effort into the Talmud under the sow, as if he wanted to read and see something most difficult and exceptional; no doubt they gained their Shem Hamphoras from that place.
    The English translation of Vom Schem Hamphoras is contained in The Jew in Christian Theology, by Gerhard Falk (1992).

  • He was a virulent anti-semite (see below) and also see Lyndal Roper’s biography of Luther. The evidence is clear, irrefutable except for those ignorant, stupid people who refuse to face reality.

  • obviously, you don’t have a reference- I know a clown in a clown suit even if you’re not wearing one..you know the pantsuited Hillary..sort of like her!

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