Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Luther-related Tidbits

Despite not really having any time to engage my favorite Reformation-related hobby, I still manage to find a few minutes to sneak away to the depths of cyber-space. Here are a few recent Luther-related tidbits:

Brigitte posted a snippet taken from Brecht's book, Luther on Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. Brecht points out Luther understood Ecclesiastes as an "instruction for political life." For The Song of Solomon, Luther saw the book as "a hymn of praise and thanksgiving over politics, which could be pursued properly and peacefully only in connection with God." Now that's quite a unique approach to interpreting these books!

An acquaintance emailed me about this discussion thread: In one of my Psychology courses today we discussed Martin Luther: "my professor said the he hated Jewish people and said that he believed if you wife isn't pleasing you sexually, you should go outside the marriage for satisfaction. Is this true?"My thoughts on Luther's attitude toward the Jews can be found here. As to the latter charge, Perspectives of Luther: Luther a Polygamist?; Luther's "Teachings" on Bigamy and Catholic Double Standards; Luther: "I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture".

A Roman Catholic over on CARM came up with a fact that I doubt will be documented: "[Luther] wanted to remove the book of James and, I believe Revelation, but the princes that aligned with him (in order to make a land grab for Church lands) warned that he would be going to far in that." I love the way this myth has developed. I've never heard it quite like this. I've heard that Melanchthon warned Luther, now it's "princes" (It was none other than Romanist apologist Steve Ray spreading the Melanchthon myth). So much for going "deep into history."

Another CARM Roman Catholic is single-handedly carrying on the tradition of Cochlaeus, blaming Luther for virtually every evil in the world. Here he lays the blame for the peasant's revolt on Luther (and here). I responded: "I say we burn Luther in effigy.... or maybe a giant piñata that could be whacked with a stick, next to the giant bonfire. When it breaks open, copies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church would fall out- as we're reading them smiling and dancing around the fire, we'll drink Kool aid, singing ave maria and then book our next Catholic Answers cruise. Anyway, that's my solution. I think it would be very cathartic." The response: "That’s fascinating imagery, but little else. I revealed some very damaging information about Luther in my last couple of posts and since you didn’t take issue with anything I said, I can only conclude that you agree with my assessment." Why does it have to follow logically that because I didn't "take issue" with what was said, I therefore agree with what was said? I don't see how the conclusion is a necessary conclusion. I then suggested this book. FYI, Luther's Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants was actually published after the peasant's war began. The treatise was delayed, and did not have an immediate role during the war. The German nobility were not spurred by Luther's words. They were spurred by the peasants who strove towards anarchy and civil unrest. Key question: If peasants (or anyone) ever attacked your street and family, what would you do?

Elsewhere on CARM: Luther was a Catholic... so there were things in Catholicism that Luther just accepted as true. Contrarily, this is the way I like to put it: Luther clearly distinguished Romanism from Catholicism, as do I.

There were a few oddities from Catholic Answers over the last few months that I never got around to, like "A Catholic priest from once told me that Martin Luther requested to have a Catholic priest come to give him last rites at his deathbed, but that Melanchthon wouldn't let him." Ironically, I get a lot of Goolge hits from folks searching out Luther's deathbed reconversion to the Roman Catholic Church. Next, Luther's comments on "reason" tend to befuddle many a Romanist, despite having the World Wide Web of information right at their fingertips.

Somewhere on the Catholic Answers forums I read about how Luther regretted the Reformation at the end of his life, but I can't seem to locate the thread. I'd like to blow this one totally out of the water, since many a Roman Catholic presents this argument. One need only read the recent LW 58 to get a good glimpse into Luther's work and attitude during his last years, but that'll wait for anther time.

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