Saturday, March 23, 2013

Luther "hired a bodyguard to prevent him from physically hurting anyone during very painful bouts of tinnitus"?

The Catholic Answers forums are a never-ending source of Luther / Reformation facts. Here's an interesting tidbit posted recently. The good news for the Catholic Answers folks is that the person who posted this doesn't claim to be Roman Catholic:

Old Mar 13, '13, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules."

Martin Luther in 1529 was not the same Martin Luther of 1519 and earlier. Among Martin Luther's many physical ailments was the torment of severe tinnitus. In his own words he wrote: "When I try to work, my head becomes filled with all sorts of whizzing, buzzing, thundering noises.". The pain became so severe that he hired a body guard to prevent him from physically hurting anyone during very painful bouts of tinnitus. Earlier in his life, Martin Luther defended the Jews as God's people whom the LORD will redeem in time. But by 1529, he wrote awful things about the Jews of his day. Later in his life Luther also wrote books that were simply awful, He was driven mad by his very severe case of Tinnitus, accompanied by other health issues.

His father and two of his brothers also suffered from tinnitus.



I've certainly come across Luther's health problems, including his hearing difficulties, but never have I come across any of his health issues prompting him to hire a bodyguard "to prevent him from physically hurting anyone during very painful bouts of tinnitus." One never knows though. Simply because I don't recall it doesn't mean it doesn't have some sort of vague historical facts backing it up. Of course I asked for these facts, and here was the response:

Old Mar 14, '13, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules."

Yes it is true, 'though the actual description' was not body Guard, he hired a strong man or two late in his life as his rapidly deteriorating mind led to random violent impulsive actions, the hired person would subdue him before he hurt someone or his-self. It must have been over a decade i had that info in my hands, say I can not provide it at this time. If I come across it I will let you know.

Here is additional info on Martin Luther.

As early as 1516, Luther wrote, "...Many people are proud with marvelous stupidity when they call the Jews dogs, evildoers, or whatever they like, while they too, and equally, do not realize who or what they are in the sight of God". In 1523, Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in That Jesus Christ was born a Jew.

Historian Gritsch argues that Luther’s anti-Semitism was an integral part of his life and work, in “Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism” (Eerdmans). As a Christian theologian, Gritsch argues that Luther’s anti-Semitism was basically discordant with the core of his theology – particularly in the context of Paul’s views on the relationship between Christians and Jews. Therefore, Gritsch concludes, Luther’s attitude toward Jews was, as he puts it, “against his better judgment.”

As early as 1516, Luther wrote, “… Many people are proud with marvelous stupidity when they call Jews dogs, evildoers, or whatever they like, while they too, and equally, do not realize who or what they are in the sight of God.” In 1523, Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in that Jesus Christ was born a Jew.

In contrast, this kindness toward the Jews was certainly not the common view of European Christians toward the Jews in 1516, 1523, Jews were being persecuted throughout Christendom at this time. The 16th century saw many persecutions of Jews, and Jews forcefully packed into small ghettos - "You have no right to live amongst us" was the attitude (except for France). The Iberian Peninsula saw great persecution of Jews, and in Rome they were forced into a very overcrowded Ghetto.

So what happened that Martin Luther’s genuine kindness and support toward Jewish people dissipated into outright hatred and contempt of the Jews?

The answer is not the fault of the Jews, it was Martin Luther whom changed. Luther became mentally ill in the late 1520’s, and the symptoms increased his mental illness as the years continued downhill as the years went by. Luther had been suffering from ill health for years, including Meniere’s Disease, severe Tinnitus, vertigo, fainting, and a cataract in one eye. From 1531 to 1546, his health deteriorated rapidly. And the knowledge of diseases affecting the mind in those days was zilch. Sadly, Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic teachings contributed significantly to future persecution of Jews, and particularly during Hitler’s Germany, as Hitler used Luther's words spoken when Luther's mind detiorated to a great degree.

This does not nullify Martin Luther’s teachings prior to 1526, when he was healthy enough and still in his right mind. Though all teachings by us mortals are debatable as to their meaning and the fruit they bear: good or bad, or nuetral.

Last edited by Telestia; Mar 14, '13 at 1:01 pm.

Well, I appreciated that this person attempted a response. The actual meat of the response is in the first paragraph: "It must have been over a decade i had that info in my hands, say I can not provide it at this time. If I come across it I will let you know."

I do recall something to the effect that Luther was worried at one point of assassination by the Jews (see my detailed paper on Luther and the Jews, particularly VII. 1537: The Josel Of Rosheim Controversy. I don't recall if he had body guards due to these worries. I'd have to check some sources.  The notion though being put forth: a violent man with a "rapidly deteriorating mind" certainly would be quite a popular fact by those wishing to discredit Luther. But frankly, I don't recall ever hearing it, and I'm very skeptical and doubt any meaningful historical documentation will ever be provided.

Many do speculate Luther had ear problems- Mark U. Edwards says maybe Meiniere's Syndrome- caused by a severe middle ear infection, and it's possible Luther had a severe ear infection in 1541. But the assertions being put forth seem a bit far-fetched to me (and, I'm not referring to tinnitus).

Note that in the response, Luther's later Jewish writings are blamed on mental illness: "So what happened that Martin Luther’s genuine kindness and support toward Jewish people dissipated into outright hatred and contempt of the Jews? The answer is not the fault of the Jews, it was Martin Luther whom changed. Luther became mentally ill in the late 1520’s, and the symptoms increased his mental illness as the years continued downhill as the years went by." That again is a charge I've not come across before, that some sort of mental illness in the 1520's bloomed into a full hatred of the Jews.  Note as well Luther's writings are said to be good before 1526 but bad after:"This does not nullify Martin Luther’s teachings prior to 1526, when he was healthy enough and still in his right mind. Though all teachings by us mortals are debatable as to their meaning and the fruit they bear: good or bad, or nuetral." Actually, I think many of Luther's writings after 1526 are better than those previous to 1526.

Once again  I responded and challenged the theory Luther become mentally ill: "If he did and you have something to prove this, produce your source so I can look at the documentation." Note that I had previously mentioned Meiniere's Syndrome.  Here was the response:


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Old Mar 14, '13, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules."

T.Q. wrote: No he didn't become mentally ill, if he did and you have something to prove this, produce your source so I can look at the documentation.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2529669

The information how Martin Luther suffered terribly from a extreme cases of meniere's disease and tinitus. He suffered many other ailments too.

Martin Luther's diseases are well documented, because he used to discuss them freely in his letters. There is also a wealth of evidence through reports by his friends. Most of his diseases were common and well known to the contemporary physicians, who accordingly interpreted them correctly: bladder stones, chronic constipation, hemorrhoids. Luther's death obviously was due to a coronary thrombosis.

During the last 19 years of his life, in addition to these "natural diseases", Luther also suffered from recurring attacks of a peculiar symptomatology. Luther himself and his friends considered these seizures to be no "natural disease", but Satan punching his flesh, and he compared them to St. Paul's disease (2. Cor. 12).

The first of these attacks occurred on July 6, 1527, when Luther was 43 years of age. It began with a roaring tinnitus in his left ear, which increased dramatically and seemed to occupy the left half of his head. Then a state of sickness and collapse followed, however, consciousness was retained throughout the whole period. After a night's rest all the symptoms had subsided, except the tinnitus, which, from that day on, continued for all the following years in varying intensity.

Similar attacks with increase of the tinnitus and vertigo as the leading symptoms, seized Luther at irregular intervals and distressed him extremely. Former investigators of Luther's diseases interpreted these attacks as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder and a chronic inflammatory disease of the middle ear. The present detailed study reveals that it was a typical case of Menière's disease of the left ear manifesting itself more than 330 years before Menière's classical observation.


Meniere's disease is defined as:

"an aetiologically unclear illness, affecting mainly (in 70% of cases) one side of the cochleovestibular organ with the following characteristic symptoms: severe attacks of Vertigo (lasting between minutes and hours), beginning with fluctuating hearing loss, Tinnitus (mostly occurring in low frequences) and a feeling of pressure in the affected ear."
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Old Mar 14, '13, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules."

Part 2 in response to Tertium Quid

Per your request that You wrote: "No he didn't become mentally ill, if he did and you have something to prove this, produce your source so I can look at the documentation."

Meniere's disease is defined as:
"an aetiologically unclear illness, affecting mainly (in 70% of cases) one side of the cochleovestibular organ with the following characteristic symptoms: severe attacks of Vertigo (lasting between minutes and hours), beginning with fluctuating hearing loss, Tinnitus (mostly occurring in low frequences) and a feeling of pressure in the affected ear."
During the acute attack patients - often not knowing what is happening to them - also experience deep anxiety and fear of death, so that the first vertigo attack can be misjudged as a heart attack."

"In addition, the differentiation between a meniere attack and the first occurrence of vestibular disorder can be difficult. After the recurrence of the attack, the ear, nose and throat medical specialist can usually make a clear diagnosis, when also taking into consideration the medical history and the neurotological findings. "

During the acute attack, patients - often not knowing what is happening to them - also experience deep anxiety and fear of death, so that the first vertigo attack can be misjudged as a heart attack.

In addition, the differentiation between a meniere attack and the first occurrence of vestibular disorder can be difficult. After the recurrence of the attack, the ear, nose and throat medical specialist can usually make a clear diagnosis, when also taking into consideration the medical history and the neurootological findings.

Guidelinens along ADANO staging according to Jahnke (1994)

Stage 1: Fluctuating hearing loss; this may recover to a normacoustic level after the Menière vertigo attack.

Stage 2: Vertigo attacks and fluctuating hearing loss, that may improve spontaneously, but not to a normacoustic level.

Stage 3: Severe hearing loss without fluctuation and persistent vertigo attacks.

Stage 4: The inner ear has lost its function. 


Subjectivity of the Patient

Through the suddenness and severity of the vertigo attacks patients lose confidence in the stability - previously taken by them for granted - of their vestibular system. Not knowing what is happening to them during the first attack, they often feel helpless and deeply threatened. For patients diagnosed with Meniere`s disease there is a breakdown in their sense of security, which now proves to be vulnerable and threatened by the unpredictability of recurring attacks of vertigo.

In 1861 Prosper Meniere himself vividly described the almost constant problems of a patient:

"Without identifiable cause, a strong young man is suddenly struck down by symptoms of dizziness and nausea; inexpressible fear diminishes his strength; his face turns pale, becomes bathed in sweat and shows signs of an approaching loss of consciousness."

At first the patient feels unsteady and dazed, then he falls to the ground and is unable to get up again.

Lying on his back, he sees the room spinning around him, and the slightest perceived movement increases his sensation of dizziness and nausea. We can observe his pale face, signs of a possible fainting fit, his body bathed in cold sweat and altogether everything indicates a state of deep anxiety."

In 1530 Martin Luther believed his state of illness, at that time not yet known as"Meniere-condition", to be the work of Satan:

Luther took good notes on his symptoms of what physically was ailing him.

Luther wrote:

"I thought it was the Devil himself, doing everything within his power to make me suffer on this Earth ... nobody believes how much these fits of imbalance and the roaring and ringing in my ears torment me. I hardly dare to read for an hour, or to concentrate on any matter, because the loud ringing returns with force and I fall to the ground." 


Many Physicians and historians noted that Martin Luther suffered from severe Meniere' diseases



And I responded as follows:

Old Mar 15, '13, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
T.Q. wrote: No he didn't become mentally ill, if he did and you have something to prove this, produce your source so I can look at the documentation.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2529669
Thanks for the URL. The abstract says the article it refers to argues Luther may have suffered from "a typical case of Menière's disease", not a mental disorder. Recall, I mentioned this disease yesterday. In other words, your source doesn't argue Luther had a mental disorder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
The information how Martin Luther suffered terribly from a extreme cases of meniere's disease and tinitus. He suffered many other ailments too.
None of which I disputed, including tinnitus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
-Martin Luther's diseases are well documented, because he used to discuss them freely in his letters. There is also a wealth of evidence through reports by his friends. Most of his diseases were common and well known to the contemporary physicians, who accordingly interpreted them correctly: bladder stones, chronic constipation, hemorrhoids. Luther's death obviously was due to a coronary thrombosis.
.... and I never disputed that, nor did I request this information from you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
During the last 19 years of his life, in addition to these "natural diseases", Luther also suffered from recurring attacks of a peculiar symptomatology. Luther himself and his friends considered these seizures to be no "natural disease", but Satan punching his flesh, and he compared them to St. Paul's disease (2. Cor. 12).
This appears to be a cut-and-paste from the URl you provided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
The first of these attacks occurred on July 6, 1527, when Luther was 43 years of age. It began with a roaring tinnitus in his left ear, which increased dramatically and seemed to occupy the left half of his head. Then a state of sickness and collapse followed, however, consciousness was retained throughout the whole period. After a night's rest all the symptoms had subsided, except the tinnitus, which, from that day on, continued for all the following years in varying intensity.
This also appears to be a cut-and-paste from the URl you provided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
Similar attacks with increase of the tinnitus and vertigo as the leading symptoms, seized Luther at irregular intervals and distressed him extremely. Former investigators of Luther's diseases interpreted these attacks as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder and a chronic inflammatory disease of the middle ear. The present detailed study reveals that it was a typical case of Menière's disease of the left ear manifesting itself more than 330 years before Menière's classical observation.
And this also appears to be a cut-and-paste from the URl you provided. Note the final sentence: "The present detailed study reveals that it was a typical case of Menière's disease of the left ear manifesting itself more than 330 years before Menière's classical observation."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia View Post
Meniere's disease is defined as:
"an aetiologically unclear illness, affecting mainly (in 70% of cases) one side of the cochleovestibular organ with the following characteristic symptoms: severe attacks of Vertigo (lasting between minutes and hours), beginning with fluctuating hearing loss, Tinnitus (mostly occurring in low frequences) and a feeling of pressure in the affected ear."]
This is not information I requested or dispute, as I mentioned Meniere's disease yesterday.

Now, scroll thorugh everything you've posted, and you'll notice that you haven't actually documented anything I've asked for. This is what I would like to see credible documentation for. I've placed in bold lettering, the things that need documentation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia
The pain became so severe that he hired a body guard to prevent him from physically hurting anyone during very painful bouts of tinnitus...He was driven mad by his very severe case of Tinnitus,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia
Yes it is true, 'though the actual description' was not body Guard, he hired a strong man or two late in his life as his rapidly deteriorating mind led to random violent impulsive actionsthe hired person would subdue him before he hurt someone or his-self. It must have been over a decade i had that info in my hands, say I can not provide it at this time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telestia
So what happened that Martin Luther’s genuine kindness and support toward Jewish people dissipated into outright hatred and contempt of the Jews?
The answer is not the fault of the Jews, it was Martin Luther whom changed. Luther became mentally ill in the late 1520’s, and the symptoms increased his mental illness as the years continued downhill as the years went by.
JS



This was the first part of my response. I posted the second part a while later, and within about five minutes of being posted, it was yanked off the forum, and this message was in it's place:

Old Mar 16, '13, 8:24 am
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Default Re: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules."


Okay, enough with the armchair shrinks and psychological evaluations of Martin Luther.
Start a new thread for that if you wish.
Return to the topic of the OP.
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There are few odd things about my post being yanked. First, I wasn't the person being an armchair shrink giving psychological evaluations of Luther. Second, the topic was relevant as it's common for people to explain away Luther's theology by appealing to his psychological state. In fact there were others in this discussion who were doing just that. One need only look at the title of the discussion: "Martin Luther just knew that Catholics had too many rules." Third, in regard to staying on topic, a number of Roman Catholics in this discussion veered way off topic to discussing the canon of Scripture (that's right, James Swan versus everyone on the canon). That of course, according to a private message from Mr. Hilbert, was not off topic.

I thought I had saved a copy of my deleted post, but I can't find it.  I basically pointed out the majority of the information given was a cut-and-paste from this webpage. I specifically commented on the following:

"In 1530 Martin Luther believed his state of illness, at that time not yet known as"Meniere-condition", to be the work of Satan: Luther took good notes on his symptoms of what physically was ailing him. Luther wrote: "I thought it was the Devil himself, doing everything within his power to make me suffer on this Earth ... nobody believes how much these fits of imbalance and the roaring and ringing in my ears torment me. I hardly dare to read for an hour, or to concentrate on any matter, because the loud ringing returns with force and I fall to the ground." Many Physicians and historians noted that Martin Luther suffered from severe Meniere' diseases."
This is basically a cut-and-paste with some added comments. "Luther took good notes on his symptoms of what physically was ailing him" was added, and, the quote from Luther, well, I couldn't find the context.   The quote was probably originally in German, and then translated into English for the web page being cut-and-pasted.

After my post was taken down, I left this discussion. This wasn't the only post of mine deleted from this discussion. I had another taken down that pointed out Roman Catholics are basically allowed to say whatever they want about Luther and the Reformation, while non-Roman Catholics are shut down quickly if they say anything remotely negative against the Roman church.  The double standards of Mr. Hilbert's moderation in both these instances speaks to the fact that Catholic Answers is not interested in an open or fair dialog.

5 comments:

Algo said...

TQuid

That's Classic C.A.F Admin. Activity.

I'm glad you saved it.

EA said...

"...Roman Catholics are basically allowed to say whatever they want about Luther and the Reformation, while non-Roman Catholics are shut down quickly if they say anything remotely negative against the Roman church. ...Catholic Answers is not interested in an open or fair dialog."

This has been my experience as well. My overall opinion is that the CA forums are intended as a place for Catholics to play at apologetics. The moderators are there to protect the Catholics. Anyone challenging the party line there needs to tread very, very gently.

James Swan said...

Well, we'll see how this plays out over on CA. I've challenged the following comment:

"Originally Posted by Zooey
James White has always seemed to me to be a peculiarly angry & unhappy man, who has been turned into a kind of Scrooge-like figure by cherishing his dislike of Catholics, and using it as whip to try to beat you all up.."


I challenged the comment by referring to this CA link

EA said...

"I've challenged the following comment..."

James, those rules are to protect Catholics not Protestants and especially NOT James White. For the denziens of CA, Dr. White occupies the level of contempt just above Luther.

Greg Smith said...

I haven't posted at CAF for about 3 years. Could NOT take it. love Catholic people and watching some of them show up, hearts broken, pleading for counsel on what to do, especially about shattered marriages and the carnal, worldly even satanic advice, but in every case confused and contradictory advice they were given by the clueless plebes of Rome literally lost me sleep. I had to get outta there.