I hadn't realized two recent full-length books came out exploring Luther's attitude toward the Jews. I recently received both of them.
The first one (of which I'm halfway through) is Eric Gritsch, Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012). Gritsch is a good Luther scholar. So far, the book helpfully begins by defining terms, especially what the term "antisemitism" means. the term isn't as easy to define as some may think.
What I found interesting so far is that back in 1993 Gritsch wrote, “Luther was not an anti-Semite in the racist sense. His arguments against the Jews were theological, not biological” [Eric Gritsch, “Was Luther Anti-Semitic? ” [Christian History, 39 (vol. XII, No. 3),39]. In an earlier book Gritch says, “And yet it must be said that Luther forged a theological ‘anti-Judaism’ rather than a biological ‘anti-Semetism.’ The biological, ethnic designation was disseminated in Germany during the financial panic following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Luther was not therefore the real father of German anti-Semitism, with its mass murder of Jews efficiently executed by Hitler’s bureaucratic henchmen” [Eric Gritsch, Martin- God’s Court Jester: Luther in Retrospect (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), 145].
In this recent book, Gritsch states, Luther is not simply "anti-Judaic" but rather "genuinely anti-Semetic" "in accordance with the broad, contemporary definition of anti-Semitism." It appears to me his position on Luther has shifted a bit from his earlier conclusions. One tangential point about Gritsch that I did not know was that he mentions in his recent book that he had been "a member of the Hitler Youth during the final days of World War II" (p. xiii).
The second book (which arrived today) is Christopher J. Probst, Demonizing the Jews, Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012). I thumbed through this one briefly, and there was a fascinating section on Luther scholar Paul Althaus, the author of one of the best systematic approaches to Luther's theology. Probst documents the association that Althaus had with the Nazis, and then after the war being part of the denazification at Erlangen University, and then being suspended from this for being "pro-Hitler," and then being found not guilty by the denazification board.
I look forward to reading both books over the holiday.