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Who said that — Martin Luther or William Shakespeare?

Pit the Great Reformer and the Great Bard against your knowledge of both.

Martin Luther, left, and William Shakespeare. Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

(RNS) — Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther not only single-handedly sparked one of the major religious movements of all time, he was an endless fountain of pithy quotes and garrulous insults.

Exhibit one: the Luther Insult Generator, a delightful time-suck that spits out one inventive personal smear after another, each taken from Luther’s own writings.

“Even if your writings were from an angel from heaven I would take this horrible document, and, after having used it as toilet paper, wipe its nose” is a personal favorite.

But the grim-faced German was not the only man of his era who could spew sparkling, shocking prose with the best. England had a native son named William Shakespeare who could hold his own against all comers.

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“Thou fusty elf-skinned bum-bailey!,” the Shakespearean Insult Generator produces. “Thou wimpled dismal-dreaming mumble-news!”

So here is an opportunity to match wits with the Great Reformer and the Great Bard, both scribbling away in the 16th century. Who produced the following quotes? The answers are at the end. No peeking, “you abominable abomination.” (Luther!)

Each section has two quotes, one by Luther and one by Shakespeare. Do you know which is which?

  • On marriage

  • On beer

  • On death

  • On politics

  • On God

  • On angels:

  • On women

  • On music

  • On the devil

  • On sin

  • On repentance

  • On heaven

  • On dogs

RNS graphic by Chris Mathews

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