Not a racist

January 11th, 2018

“Set fire to their synagogues or schools” Does that really mean Luther hated the Jews? Hold on, he hated legalism, and those who proclaimed it: the Pope, the Turks, the Anabaptists – and the Jews. When he recommended burning down their synagogues or schools it was out of question what he meant: dispossessing them from their influence.

There haven’t been any progroms. Neither Luther nor his companions and followers ever tried to set fire to Jewish property, and Luther never recommended the burning people because because of their ethnicity. It would have been a complete contradition to all the Reformation ideas.

Luther didn’t rant about the Jews because they were Jewish – in this case, he would have had to rant about Jesus, the apostles, the prophets and almost everyone else in the Bible. He ranted about the Jewish religion. When he talked about the Jews he never talked about race, he always talked about religion.

For the Nazis it didn’t make a difference if a Jew was baptized or not. They regarded the very of the Jewish people as evil. Luther didn’t. He wasn’t an anti-Semite because he wasn’t a racist. Hitler was a racist, an occultist and a mass murderer. Luther was none of that.

It doesn’t get one very far to judge the past by today’s standards. Language was different at the time, a lot more drastic from all sides. Luther didn’t hate the Jews, he was just a child of his time.

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