Tag Archives: Antisemitism

#ICYMI – Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment

Eric W. Gritsch’s contribution to the field of historical theology:  Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment.

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.

My review of this important volume is here.

Philip Esler on ‘Race’ and Antisemitism in the Ancient World

Bible and Interpretation has published a fascinating essay by Esler in which he concludes

Whatever use was made of the Fourth Gospel in later centuries, we owe it to its author and his first audience to try to understand their context and the John’s response to it in ways that are not cast in the 19th century pseudo-scientific language of “race” and anti-Semitism. And it cannot help us combat contemporary anti-Semitism if we eschew historically precise and accurate investigations of how this group, who in the first century CE called themselves Ioudaioi (when other ethnic groups were in view) and today Jews, interacted with and were treated by other groups in their milieux at the various stages of their long history.

You’ll like what he has to say.

In Israel Even Music is Banned

Free speech, music, what next, the internet?

The Israeli Opera has asked a U.K.-based Israeli choreographer to remove an excerpt of a Richard Wagner opera from the soundtrack of her show, which will be showcased in Tel Aviv next month. Israeli Opera director Hanna Munitz has asked Jasmin Vardimon to replace the overture of Richard Wagner’s “Tannhauser,” which features in the opening scene of her show “7734,” with another musical piece. Wagner’s music has been boycotted in Israel for decades because of the 19th-century German composer’s anti-Semitic worldview and his descendants’ ties to the Nazi party.

How ridiculous. The word ‘the’ is also used in anti-semitic literature so shouldn’t it be banned in Israel too? And all those who use the word ‘the’… Wagner used violins in his pieces. Violins should be banned in Israel.

At some point someone there needs to say ‘this has just become ridiculous. We need to stop blaming anti-semitism for everything and we need to stop seeing it lurking behind every tree. Our paranoia has become our tyrant.’

France: Breeding Ground for Neo-Fascist Racism?

A 12-year-old boy was beaten outside his Jewish school in Paris by youths reciting anti-Semitic slogans, school officials said, amid high security and tensions in France following killings of Jewish children and a rabbi last week. The boy did not suffer serious injuries.

The situation in France is really quite troubling. The anti-foreigner/ anti-Muslim/ anti-Semitic sentiments of many in the country is just inexplicable.  Hate isn’t natural- it’s a learned behavior.

Both the school shooting and this week’s beating involved the Ozar Hatorah network of Jewish schools. … The 12-year-old boy was hit and punched in the back of his head Monday afternoon as he left the Ozar Hatorah School in southeast Paris, the school’s human resources director, Katia Normal, said Tuesday. She said the aggressors were two boys a couple of years older than the victim who recited anti-Semitic slogans. It happened about 100 meters from the entrance and therefore out of sight of the police officers guarding the school.

Victimizing children… it sounds like France has turned into Florida.

12th Century Anti-Semitism

The BBC has a fascinating essay this morning on evidence of the murder of numerous Jews in Norwich in the 12th century-

The most likely explanation is that those down the well were Jewish and were probably murdered or forced to commit suicide, according to scientists who used a combination of DNA analysis, carbon dating and bone chemical studies in their investigation.  The skeletons date back to the 12th or 13th Centuries at a time when Jewish people were facing persecution throughout Europe.

Children were evidently tossed in on top of the adults.  There’s lots of interesting facts.  Enjoy.

%d bloggers like this: