Martin Luther And The Jews Essay

1277 words - 5 pages

Martin Luther’s actions and intentions have puzzled historians for centuries. Some believe that Luther was in fact, a beneficial character towards the Jews; however, based on various historical proofs, Luther was not favourable towards the Jews in history. Contrary to some opinions of Luther’s kindness towards the Jews, his propaganda and extensive efforts to punish the people deem him to be a deceitful man. Although Luther appeared to be inconsistent in his emotions towards Jews, he was ultimately an anti-Jewish character in his era.
Luther’s feigned benevolence toward the Jews obscures his underlying negative motives. Luther’s primary objective to advertise his sect, and he saw the Jews as playing an active role in it, stating, “so long as we keep them from loving and working among us, in our communities, and force them to practice usury- how can they come to us? If we seek to aid them, it is the law of Christian love that we must apply to them.” Luther sounds fair and just in regards to the Jews, but when further examined, one can identify Luther’s true intentions were not to represent the Jews in a positive manner, but merely to convince the Jews to convert, and the false compassion was for his personal benefit towards the prosperity of his new sect. Moreover, Luther uses Jews to prove how much worse the Christians are and to show that even the Jews are held at a higher esteem than the Christians that he despises. Luther uses the Jews to his benefit to prove a point about the Christians, declaring, “If I had been a Jew, I should have preferred to turn pig before I became Christian.” Powerfully, Luther shows his disgust towards the Christian religion and ranks them lower than a distinctively dirty and appalling animal. He goes to the extent of placing himself in a Jew’s position, and emphasizes how much he hates the Christians by stating that he would even prefer to be a Jew. Therefore, he does not denote respect for the Jews in this instance, but rather he shows slightly more contempt for his Christian enemies. By utilizing the Jews and their values to portray his utter hatred for the Christians, Luther chooses to associate himself with the Jews, not because he values them, but because he wishes to underscore the extremely low opinion he holds of the Christians. It is evident that Luther’s seemingly considerate, pro-Jewish attitude was not for any reason other than to advance his personal objectives, which involved the manipulation of the Jews in order to enact fundamental changes to Christianity.
Luther exemplified his deep-seated hatred with regard to the Jews by using propaganda to emphasize a negative portrayal of the Jewish people. Luther began to call the Jews, “usurers” which was used synonymously with the Jews during the late twelfth century. During his time, Jews were often accused and punished for their usury. Luther saw the Jews as greedy, immoral usurers, unaffected by the hypocrisy present, as the authorities often...

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