Monday, October 02, 2006

PBS Quiz: Martin Luther Vs. Martin Luther King

As a follow up to my last entry, PBS also hosts a Martin Luther quiz on their site. The quiz has a simple premise: it lists ten small context-less quotations and one is asked to determine if the words were uttered by Martin Luther or Martin Luther King. Go ahead and try it for yourself:

Quiz: Who Said What? Martin Luther or Martin Luther King?

Do the quiz the way I did- Half awake with no coffee without really spending too much time analyzing every question. Just go with your gut feeling. You may want to read the PBS link comparing Luther and Luther King (I skipped it).

****If you plan on taking this quiz, take it now, and then read on.****

Some of you may wonder how I did on this quiz. Now, I’ve never read anything Martin Luther King has written, so that added a little difficulty. No, I didn’t get them all, but I got 8 out of 10, which I guess isn’t too bad. The two I got wrong were #8 and #10. So much for going with one's "gut" feeling.

I haven’t looked up any of the purported Martin Luther quotes, but I must point out that PBS has once again presented a historical blunder. Question #6 asks, “6. Who said... Who loves not woman, wine, and song remains a fool his whole life long?” This was one of the few Luther quotes I actually recognized, because it has a history of being used against Luther (particularly by Roman Catholics). Consider this explanation from biographer Heinrich Boehmer:

There remains the " notorious verse," "Who loves not woman, wine and song, is but a fool his whole life long." This couplet may indeed be the most quoted of all the expressions ascribed to Luther, but it is not his ; it is probably a very old student's rhyme, which in Italy has penetrated even among the peasant class, and which appears to have been imputed to Luther by German students only in the eighteenth century. Why ?

Because they felt it necessary to connect it with some famous man, and because it seemed to fit so excellently well into the picture of " Father Luther" which the Enlightenment imagined. In any case, it first appears in the Wandsbecker Boten of 1775 (No. 75), in a poem which is proved to be the work of Johann Heinrich Voss. For Voss had this poem reprinted in the Musenalmanach for 1777 (Hamburg, p. 107), under the title "Gesundheit von Vater Luther. When Voss, in December 1776, was applying for the post of Konrektor at Hamburg, he was immediately approached on the subject by the Senior, Herrnschmidt, and as he naturally could not prove Luther's authorship of the phrase, his candidature was rejected " by the whole swarm," i.e. by the whole clergy. He took his revenge on the " parsons," not by an historical study of the origin of the rhyme, but by a new "Song to Doctor Luther," in which he used the verses quoted above as the concluding couplet. Nevertheless Herder incorporated the new Lutherwort in his Volkslieder (i., 12), Muchler used it in his " Drinking-Song " in 1797, and Langbein in 1801 in his “Road to Heaven." Since then the couplet has ranked as a proverb.

Grisar, however, thinks that it may be ascribed at least indirectly to Luther. As proof he quotes a conversation of November 1536: "We must allow every country its vice. The Bohemians are gluttons, the Wends are thieves, the Germans can find consolation in being drunkards. For, my dear Cordatus, who can equal a German in drinking, even one who does not love music or women?" Here, as so often, the reformer regards drunkenness as the national vice of the Germans. This is demonstrated earlier by the commencement of the talk, in which he describes drinking as an evil thing, and even more clearly by the passage in the Commentary on Genesis ix. 20 ff., to which he expressly refers. That he shared the attitude revealed by the rhyme is therefore simply not true. That the rhyme was later on attributed to him is no longer surprising. For how prompt people have always been, and still are, to provide these much-quoted expressions and songs with famous fathers, is universally known, and has been proved often enough, for instance by the poet Hoffman von Fallersleben, himself a great maker of aphorisms, in his book In Duici Jubelo
.” [Source: Heinrich Boehmer, Luther and the Reformation in the Light of Modern Research (London: G. Bell and Sons LTD, 1930), 202-203].


Micah said...

More about the beliefs of Martin Luther King Jr. here.

FM483 said...


I read the papers of Martin zluther king Jr and was amazed at how incorrect they were when it comes to the great Reformer, Martin Luther. For example, the paper asserts that many of Luther's beliefs were primarily due to his experiences in life. This is incorrect because Luther'sviewpoints were formed from the Word of God, not experiences. If MLK Jr would have done good research he would have realized the paradoxical nature of the Christian faith as espoused by Luther rather than experiential religion. MLK Jr maintains that Luther was a firm advocate of DoublePredestination, which is untrue. MLK Jr keeps saying that Luther's views were based upon faith and experience, which is not true. All of Luther's beliefs originated from the Word. MLK Jr disn't understand that "consubstantiation"is different from "Real Presence".

I amamazed at what a poor theologian and historian MLK Jr was, as shown fromthese writings.

Frank Marron