Luther’s Silly Literalistic Take on ‘hoc est’ and his Hypocrisy on the Topic

Luther, famously, insisted that ‘hoc est’ in the Lord’s Supper had to be taken literally.  Funny, though, that he ignored the literality of ‘hoc est’ when it suited him.  For instance,

super inimicos meos instruis me mandata tua quia in sempiternum hoc est mihi (Ps. 118:98)

This ‘hoc est’ is ignored by Luther and yet to be consistent he is required to take it literally.  For the non-Latinists (i.e., Lutherans), here’s the verse in English:

You make me wiser than my enemies by your commandment which is mine for ever. (Ps. 119:98)

The context of Psalm 119:98 (118 in the Vulgate) is the glory of Torah.  Here the Psalmist says quite literally that the Torah is forever his, forever, that is, in force.

Naturally Luther presumed that the Gospel superseded the law.  And yet in the context of the Supper, again, he insists on the literalness of ‘hoc est’.  But he doesn’t here.

Hypocritical much, Martin?  Or just eisegetical?

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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