In this book Eric W. Gritsch, a Lutheran and a distinguished Luther scholar, faces the glaring ugliness of Martin Luther's anti- Semitism head-on, describing Luther's journey from initial attempts to proselytize Jews to an appallingly racist position, which he apparently held until his death.
Comprehensively laying out the textual evidence for Luther's virulent anti-Semitism, Gritsch traces the development of Luther's thinking in relation to his experiences, external influences, and theological convictions. Revealing greater impending danger with each step, Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism marches steadily onward until the full extent of Luther's racism becomes apparent. Gritsch's unflinching analysis also describes the impact of Luther's egregious words on subsequent generations and places Luther within Europe's long history of anti-Semitism.
Throughout, however, Gritsch resists the temptation either to demonize or to exonerate Luther. Rather, readers will recognize Luther's mistakes as links in a chain that pulled him further and further away from an attitude of respect for Jews as the biblical people of God. Gritsch depicts Luther as a famous example of the intensive struggle with the enduring question of Christian-Jewish relations. It is a great historical tragedy that Luther, of all people, fell victim to anti-Semitism -- albeit against his better judgment.
Eric W. Gritsch
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In reading the book, Gritsch does well in providing the antisemitic climate that Luther was exposed to in Germany and a Europe prior to his 95 thesis. He also points out in illustrating that much of Luther's frustration in not able to convert Jews and the dialogues with them eventually annoyed him so much that it led him to write the later writings as a resolution to his frustrations. Gritsch further states near the end of the book that ministers following Luther in the German Lutheran churches did not follow his train of thought on those later books that he wrote and disagreed with him and his attitude to Jews where they actually tried to suppress his those books. In reading on "On Jews" three months prior to this book, I found this book quite helpful.
Luther's late in life emotional error regarding God's continuing and promised future relationship with the children of Abraham, and ignoring his customary biblical approach to truth, led to five year outburst of antisemitism, with a thread attached to five hundred years of continued pogroms, persecutions, and participation in Europe's most horrific war. Luther was a medieval man with medieval upbringing regarding the Jews living in the forced ghettos. While Luther corrected many pre-reformation errors that had crept into Christianity, he reinforced this error...against his better judgment. Gritsch handles this with thorough scholarship and in a near detached 'matter of fact' approach that is honest and yet kind. He remains a Lutheran while realizing Luther's great accomplishments are flawed in this regard.
EXCELLENT REVEALATION OF TRUE HISTORY. HOW INFORMATIVE AND HOW SAD WHEN YOU READ WHAT REALLY WENT ON IN HISTORY. SOMETIMES THE TRUTH HURTS BUT BETTER TO KNOW THE TRUTH SO THAT YOU DON'T STAND BACK AND LET HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF. THIS SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING IN HIGH SCHOOL - I BELIEVE THIS KIND OF LEARNING CAN CHANGE OR TURN THE DOWN HILL SLIDE OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. WORTH WILD READING. AS ALWAYS, PRICE AND SERVICE IS GREAT. BUY IT ( READ AND WEEP ). HAVE A BLESSED DAY.....
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