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The Jews and Their Lies Paperback – 5 Dec 2004
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Top customer reviews
They consider Mary to be a whore yet some overlook these incredible truths and call themselves judaochristian. Yet Jesus called them the synagogue of Satan... And he would know.
Much of this work will shock many and be shouted down as anti Semetic.
Luther explains his frustration with Usuary and blasphemy in plain words citing scripture and history. The Jewish diaspoa are parasitic and have no regard for their host nation and at every opportunity will work to undermine Christian society according to Dr Luther. It highlights that Luther's generation were not the first to face the Jewish question and problem.
This was one of the last writings from the Protestant reformer. His view point was not new or original as numerous Popes used language just as strong. Ghettos were established by Papel edict, and the segregation of Christian communities from Jewish communities originated in edicts coming out of Rome (p 5).
It seems that Luther is trying to warn of a problem that is neither Protestant or Catholic or any way sectarian but rather that all men of faith and Gentile nature will and have suffered at the hands of the eternal Jew.
Seventy pages in length with notes and an introduction from the publisher give a good insight into the machinations of Luther's mind but must be viewed through the prism of his time.
It has offered up explanation of the nature of the individuals labelled on the face of this book and has explained more than enough to make sense.
You must enter this with an open mind and do your best to remain as biased-free as possible.
I have come out of this having understood quite a bit having taken no sides on this issue, but it's safe to say I can now understand the resentment of so many people.
Luther's interpretation of the Jewish history was based on his understanding of Jews as God's 'chosen people' and their rejection of that role in their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In his view the Jews had failed to learn the lessons of history or draw the correct conclusion from 1400 years of exile. He argued the fall of Jerusalem was God's judgement and concluded, ' for such terrible wrath of God is sufficient proof that they certainly must be in error and doing wrong......this wrath leads to the conclusion that the Jews are certainly rejected by God and are not his people anymore and He also is not their God anymore'. Yet the Jews had failed to repent of their sins.
He argued Jews were arrogant in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and reducing Christ's role in world history. They were boastful of their own ancestry, regarding non-Jews as heathens. The Jew was delighted, 'he was man not an animal, a man not a woman, a Greek and not a non-Greek of barbarus'. In other words Jews self-righteously claimed to be superior to others. They praised themselves inordinately while breaking the very rules by which they were supposed to conduct their lives. Jewish history demonstrated numerous occasions when they were guilty of unbelief and unrighteousness which Luther considered to be the work of the devil.
He criticised them for seeking to convert Christians to the Jews' own discredited religion in which they practiced idolatry and preached false doctrines, including the claim that the Messiah would come and destroy all their enemies with the sword. They ignored the ten commandments, mocking God by doing so, and practiced 'cursed usury'. The prophet Hosea had condemned them as the children of whores. Luther's comments have a persistent ring inasmuch as females sold their bodies in exchange for material goods. He may have realised that prostitution was not confined to Jews but never stated that position.
Luther criticised Rabbis for replacing scripture with interpretation. They denied the Messiah, referring to Jesus as a 'Tola' i.e. a hanged malefactor and referring to the Virgin Mary as a whore. Their motivation was greed for gold and silver. He related they had been accused of poisoning wells, stealing children and mutilating them, admits he does not know whether the accusations have substance although he wouldn't put it past them! He claims the Talmud teaches a Jew may not kill a Jew but is allowed to kill non-Jews. He argued 'in the fables of Aesop there is more wisdom to be found than in all the books of the Talmudists and Rabbis and more than ever could come into the hearts of the Jews'. He pointed out the Jews had persecuted Christians for three centuries, although evidence on this limited.
Luther's focus, however, changes from the purely theological to the political when he writes about the Jews' lust for wealth and its impact on society. Whereas Marx attributed social situations to impersonal historical forces, Luther attributes them to the Jews. 'They hold us Christians in captivity in our own country; they let us work in the sweat of our noses, while they appropriate money and goods, sitting behind the stove, are lazy, gluttlers and guzzlers, live well and easy on goods for which we have worked, keep us and our goods in captivity through their cursed usury, mock us and spit on us because we must labour and permit them to be noblemen at our expense; thus they are our lords and masters, we their servants with our own property, sweat and labour! And to thank us and reward us, they curse our Lord!" The Jew as proto-capitalist existed well before Marx.
Luther's convictions did not permit Christians to take revenge but he suggested removing Jewish influence amongst the Christian community. (1) Avoid Jewish synagogues and warn people against them, for not to do so was equivalent to tolerating idolatry; (2) Jews should not be permitted to own houses; (3) all their books and Talmuds should be taken from them to stop them preaching lies and blasphemies; (4) Rabbis be prohibited to preach; (5) princely protection for Jews on the highway should be withdrawn on threat of raising a cavalry (not against the Jews but against the princes); (6) that their usury be prohibited as it amounts to robbery. He added that as they were in the Kaiser's land they should be subject to the Kaiser's law – a subject still contemporary in the debates over the application of Sharia law in non-Muslim countries.
It is evident from the way Luther's tract has been used that anti-Christians have quote-mined it to support their own viewpoint. Similarly, the political nature of Luther's opposition to Judaism has been underplayed. Judging Luther by our standards and using it as a precursor of Nazism is erroneous and misunderstands the text. On patriotic grounds Luther would have expelled Jews from Germany. In so doing he spoke more as a German than a Christian, although its virtually impossible to separate the secular and religious culture of the period. Four stars, not for the misguided polemical content but for educational purposes, to replace the misunderstood Luther.