Monday, October 10, 2011

"Luther’s virulent railing against the Jews seems to reflect an aspect of his character"

There's a guy over on the CARM boards that's fond of my blog:

"The following quotes would NEVER be found in a James Swan blog “article”, unless they would be surrounded by a lot of the kind of “spin” necessary to “explain them away”, so that the reader would conclude that Luther’s extremely odd behavior was something completely unconnected with Protestant theology. Of course this is a completely anti-intellectual approach to Luther, but then, Swan’s target audience is apparently not comprised of those who think for themselves (or so Swan hopes)."
Now that sort of sentiment gets my eyes get all teared up when such feelings are shared.  You're special to me to!

Here's another choice tidbit from the same person:

Richard Marius, probably the best Protestant biographer of Luther of the last 100 years must be admired for the following:


Luther’s virulent railing against the Jews seems to reflect an aspect of his character.” I agree with Marius completely. However, the “Defenders” would prefer that we see his “treatment” of the Jews and those 14 Other Issues as anomalies, things not really representative of his “Christianity”. In fact they DO represent EXACTLY what kind of a Christian he was. They also represent how “good” an Exegete he was. Of course, NO Lutheran will go that far because they have SO MUCH “invested” in Luther’s “discovery” of Salvation by Faith Alone, supposedly in Scripture. The fact of the matter is that it was from the same mind and level of Christian character that both those “recommendations” on the Jews and Salvation by Faith Alone originated. As we continue to discover on that other thread, the inside of Luther’s head was not a pretty place by any set of standards.

This though is what Marius actually said:

"Luther's virulent railing against the Jews seems to reflect an aspect of his character. As a man capable of giving complete devotion to the task at hand, all the power of his amazing personality was directed at whatever object was in front of it. Something about him calls to mind a high-pressure fire hose with a reservoir of enormous volume and force behind it, directed by the small focus of the nozzle and so delivered with shattering intensity. He could rage against the Jews or the pope or rulers who displeased him or his foes on every hand so that one might suppose that these antagonists commanded his life and all his energy. But then his attention could shift, and away from his pulpit or his writing desk he could turn the same intensity toward good humored conversation at table or the delights of his garden or the pleasure he took later on in his much beloved wife. Luther never organized any campaign against the Jews, and, as Heiko Oberman has said, despite the ferocity of his tirades against them he never truly renounced the notion of coexistence between Jews and Christians. But the fact that Luther's hostility to Jews was not the same as modern anti-Semitism does not excuse it. It was as bad as Luther could make it, and that was bad enough to leave a legacy that had hateful consequences for centuries."

Richard Marius, Martin Luther, The Christian Between God and Death, pp. 379-380.

As to the claim that "Richard Marius, probably the best Protestant biographer of Luther of the last 100 years", Marius was such a great "Protestant" that he says his underlying presuppositions to his study on Luther is “essentially non-religious.” From this perspective, he begins with the notion that “Luther represents a catastrophe in the history of Western civilization.” And, “…[W]hatever good Luther did is not matched by the calamities that came because of him” (p. xii) (Marius also lays part of the blame on the Catholic Church as well). Because the Reformation led to wars between Catholics and Protestants, the loss of life was a grave calamity of the Reformation. Humanists are always concerned with preserving humanity, for humanity’s sake. Try applying Marius’s reasoning to Moses: The Jews would have been better off if they stayed in Egypt because they almost all died in the desert wilderness. The Jews that went into the Promised Land exterminated a large number of people. Moses should have been like Erasmus and sought to negotiate more conservatively with Pharaoh. Hence, whatever good Moses did is not matched by the calamities that came because of him… Or consider the early church: instead of giving their lives for their beliefs, they should have negotiated with the Roman government. They should have said, “we’ll bow to Caesar as god, but we don’t really mean it.” Countless lives could have been saved. Thus, whatever good the early church caused by not cooperating with the Roman government is not matched by the calamities they caused.

1 comment:

PeaceByJesus said...

You must know by now that all history as well as all Scripture must be made to conform to Catholicism whenever objective examination would impugn her claims.

Rome autocratically does so, and a disciple is not greater than his master, whether it be Rome, the Living (but dead) Prophet or the LDS, or the Elders of the WTS, rather than Christ according to the Scriptures. And in which i came short.