At the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, which Protestant churches will be observing in 2017 in remembrance of the posting of Martin Luther’s 95 theses on October 31, 1517, Christians must reckon with Luther’s writings and engagement against the Jews. We must repudiate how Luther’s devolution into binary categories against his enemies has had catastrophic consequences over the centuries and even up to our times. Though Luther embraced the centrality of the Jewish Torah’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” his actual practice in relation to Jewish neighbors was hateful rather than loving. This is something that we in the Protestant world must challenge, using the Reformation anniversary to undo whatever can be undone of the vast damage his words have helped spur against the Jewish people. In doing so, we must remind our own community that the Torah’s command in Leviticus...
Luther against the Jews: Repudiating a Reformation Legacy
craig l. nessan is William D. Streng Professor for the Education and Renewal of the Church, Academic Dean, and Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He holds degrees from Michigan State University, Wartburg Theological Seminary, and the University of Munich.
Craig L. Nessan; Luther against the Jews: Repudiating a Reformation Legacy. Tikkun 1 August 2017; 32 (3): 34–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08879982-4162587
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