4/08/2002                                                                                       View Comments

Martin Luther Quotes

"All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself."

[Martin Luther (1483-1546), German Protestant leader]

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"People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon....This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13]that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."

[Martin Luther in one of his "Table Talks" in 1539]

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"People give ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus]who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy."

[Martin Luther, Works, Volume 22, c. 1543]

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"Their synagogues ... should be set on fire."
"Their homes should be broken down and destroyed. They ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like Gypsies, in order that they may realize that they ... are ... but miserable captives."

"They should be deprived of their prayerbooks and Talmuds."

"Their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more."


[Martin Luther]

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"Die verfluchte Huhre, Vernunft." (The damned whore, Reason).

[Martin Luther]

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"What shall we Christians do now with this depraved and damned people of the Jews? ... I will give my faithful advice: First, that one should set fire to their synagogues. . . . Then that one should also break down and destroy their houses. . . . That one should drive them out the country."

[Martin Luther]

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"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but -- more frequently than not -- struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."

[Martin Luther]

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"Reason should be destroyed in all Christians."

[Martin Luther]

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"The Jews are the most miserable people on earth. They are plagued everywhere, and scattered about all countries, having no certain resting place. They sit as on a wheelbarrow, without a country, people or government... but they are rightly served, for seeing they refused have Christ and his gospel, instead of freedom they must have servitude."

[Martin Luther]

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"Either God must be unjust, or you, Jews, wicked and ungodly. You have been, about fifteen hundred years, a race rejected of God."

[Martin Luther]

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"Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children."

[Martin Luther, Table Talk]

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"God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God's will. 'Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error."

[Martin Luther]

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"Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason."

[Martin Luther]

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"Reason is the Devil's greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil's appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom ... Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism... She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets."

[Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148]

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"There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason...Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed."

[Martin Luther, quoted by Walter Kaufmann, _The Faith of a Heretic_, (Garden city, NY, doubleday, 1963), p. 75]

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"[I] a like manner we must endure the authority of the prince. If he misuse or abuse his authority, we are not to entertain a grudge, seek revenge or punishment. Obedience is to be rendered for God's sake, for the ruler is God's representative. However they may tax or exact, we must obey and endure patiently."

[Martin Luther, "Tribute to Caesar" sermon, from _The Political Theories of Martin Luther_, Luther Hess Waring (New York, Putnam's, 1910) p. 104]

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"Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child- bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for."

[Martin Luther, Works 20.84]

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"The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes."

[Martin Luther, Works 12.94]

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"I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. However, the devil is the god of the world, and wherever God's word is absent he has an easy task, not only with the weak but also with the strong. May God help us. Amen."

[Martin Luther, Introduction to "On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"He did not call them Abraham's children, but a "brood of vipers" [Matt. 3:7] Oh, that was too insulting for the noble blood and race of Israel, and they declared, "He has a demon' [Matt 11:18] Our Lord also calls them a "brood of vipers"; furthermore in John 8 [:39,44]he states: "If you were Abraham's children ye would do what Abraham did.... You are of your father the devil." It was intolerable to them to hear that they were not Abraham's but the devil's children, nor can they bear to hear this today."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools..."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Now just behold these miserable, blind, and senseless people."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"...their blindness and arrogance are as solid as an iron mountain."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Learn from this, dear Christian, what you are doing if you permit the blind Jews to mislead you. Then the saying will truly apply, "When a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into the pit" [cf. Luke 6:39] You cannot learn anything from them except how to misunderstand the divine commandments..."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"However, they have not acquired a perfect mastery of the art of lying; they lie so clumsily and ineptly that anyone who is just a little observant can easily detect it. But for us Christians they stand as a terrifying example of God's wrath."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"If I had to refute all the other articles of the Jewish faith, I should be obliged to write against them as much and for as long a time as they have used for inventing their lies-- that is, longer than two thousand years."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"..Christ and his word can hardly be recognized because of the great vermin of human ordinances. However, let this suffice for the time being on their lies against doctrine or faith."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?"

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Alas, it cannot be anything but the terrible wrath of God which permits anyone to sink into such abysmal, devilish, hellish, insane baseness, envy, and arrogance. If I were to avenge myself on the devil himself I should be unable to wish him such evil and misfortune as God's wrath inflicts on the Jews, compelling them to lie and to blaspheme so monstrously, in violation of their own conscience. Anyway, they have their reward for constantly giving God the lie."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"...but then eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God's anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!"

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Over and above that we let them get rich on our sweat and blood, while we remain poor and they such the marrow from our bones.

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"I brief, dear princes and lords, those of you who have Jews under your rule-- if my counsel does not please your, find better advice, so that you and we all can be rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews, lest we become guilty sharers before God in the lies, blasphemy, the defamation, and the curses which the mad Jews indulge in so freely and wantonly against the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, this dear mother, all Christians, all authority, and ourselves. Do not grant them protection, safe-conduct, or communion with us.... With this faithful counsel and warning I wish to cleanse and exonerate my conscience."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Let the government deal with them in this respect, as I have suggested. But whether the government acts or not, let everyone at least be guided by his own conscience and form for himself a definition or image of a Jew."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"However, we must avoid confirming them in their wanton lying, slandering, cursing, and defaming. Nor dare we make ourselves partners in their devilish ranting and raving by shielding and protecting them, by giving them food, drink, and shelter, or by other neighborly acts..."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Therefore we Christians, in turn, are obliged not to tolerate their wanton and conscious blasphemy."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is:
First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...

Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...

Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...

Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it..."


[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"He who hears this name [God]from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"But what will happen even if we do burn down the Jews' synagogues and forbid them publicly to praise God, to pray, to teach, to utter God's name? They will still keep doing it in secret. If we know that they are doing this in secret, it is the same as if they were doing it publicly. for our knowledge of their secret doings and our toleration of them implies that they are not secret after all and thus our conscience is encumbered with it before God."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews' blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"...they remain our daily murderers and bloodthirsty foes in their hearts. Their prayers and curses furnish evidence of that, as do the many stories which relate their torturing of children and all sorts of crimes for which they have often been burned at the stake or banished." -Martin Luther (On the Jews and Their Lies)

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"...that everyone would gladly be rid of them."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"Undoubtedly they do more and viler things than those which we know and discover."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"If I had power over the Jews, as our princes and cities have, I would deal severely with their lying mouth."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"They [rulers]must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did... If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"My essay, I hope, will furnish a Christian (who in any case has no desire to become a Jew) with enough material not only to defend himself against the blind, venomous Jews, but also to become the foe of the Jews' malice, lying, and cursing, and to understand not only that their belief is false but that they are surely possessed by all devils. May Christ, our dear Lord, convert them mercifully and preserve us steadfastly and immovably in the knowledge of him, which is eternal life. Amen."

[Martin Luther,"On the Jews and Their Lies",1543]

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"God does not work salvation for ficticious sinners. Be a sinner and sin vigorously.... Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice; sin must be committed."

[Martin Luther]

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"Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ] even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders."

[Martin Luther, letter to Melanchton, Aug. 1, 1521]

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"A large number of deaf, crippled and blind people are afflicted solely through the malice of the demon. And one must in no wise doubt that plagues, fevers and every sort of evil come from him."

[Martin Luther]

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"An eartly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects."

[Martin Luther]

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"As for the demented, I hold it certain that all beings deprived of reason are thus afflicted only by the Devil."

[Martin Luther]

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"As to the common people, ... one has to be hard with them and see that they do their work and that under the threat of the sword and the law they comply with the observance of piety, just as you chain up wild beasts."

[Martin Luther]

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"At Poltersberg, there is a lake similarly cursed. If you throw a stone into it, a dreadful storm immediately arises, and the whole neighboring district quakes to its centre. 'Tis the devils kept prisoner there."

[Martin Luther]

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"How often have not the demons called 'Nix,' drawn women and girls into the water, and there had commerce with them, with fearful consequences."

[Martin Luther]

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"I myself saw and touched at Dessay, a child of this sort, which had no human parents, but had proceeded from the Devil. He was twelve years old, and, in outward form, exactly resembled ordinary children."

[Martin Luther]

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"I should have no compassion on these witches; I should burn them all."

[Martin Luther]

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"Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads...."

[Martin Luther]

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"In many countries there are particular places to which devils more especially resort. In Prussia there is an infinite number of evil spirits."

[Martin Luther]

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"In Switzerland, on a high mountain, not far from Lucerne, there is a lake they call Pilate's Pond, which the Devil has fixed upon as one of the chief residences of his evil spirits...."

[Martin Luther]

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"Many demons are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark poolly places ready to hurt and prejudice people; some are also in the thick black clouds, which cause hail, lightning and thunder, and poison the air, the pastures and grounds."

[Martin Luther, "Table Talk"]

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"Many sweat to reconcile St. Paul and St. James, but in vain. 'Faith justifies' and 'faith does not justify' contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor's hood and let him call me a fool."

[Martin Luther]

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"No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise."

[Martin Luther]

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"Our bodies are always exposed to Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but Devil's spells."

[Martin Luther]

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"Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God."

[Martin Luther]

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"Snakes and monkeys are subjected to the demon more than other animals. Satan lives in them and possesses them. He uses them to deceive men and to injure them."

[Martin Luther]

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"Some [demons]are also in the thick black clouds, which cause hail, lightning and thunder, and poison the air, the pastures and grounds."

[Martin Luther]

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"The best way to get rid of the Devil, if you cannot kill it with the words of Holy Scripture, is to rail at and mock him. Music, too, is very good; music is hateful to him, and drives him far away. "

[Martin Luther]

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"The Devil can so completely assume the human form, when he wants to deceive us, that we may well lie with what seems to be a woman, of real flesh and blood, and yet all the while 'tis only the Devil in the shape of a woman. Tis the same with women, who may think that a man is in bed with them, yet 'tis only the Devil; and...the result of this connection is oftentimes an imp of darkness, half mortal, half devil...."

[Martin Luther]

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"The Devil...clutched hold of the miserable young man...and flew off with him through the ceiling, since which time nothing has been heard of [him]"

[Martin Luther]

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"The Devil, too, sometimes steals human children; it is not infrequent for him to carry away infants within the first six weeks after birth, and to substitute in their place imps...."

[Martin Luther]

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"The winds are nothing else but good or bad spirits. Hark! how the Devil is puffing and blowing...."

[Martin Luther]

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"There is no rustic so rude but that, if he dreams or fancies anything, it must be the whisper of the Holy Ghost, and he himself a prophet."

[Martin Luther]

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"To be a Christian, you must "pluck out the eye of reason."

[Martin Luther]

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"We are at fault for not slaying them [the Jews]"

[Martin Luther, "On the Jews and Their Lies"]

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"We know, on the authority of Moses, that longer than six thousand years the world did not exist."

[Martin Luther (1483-1546) "Lectures on Genesis"]

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"We need not invite the Devil to our table; he is too ready to come without being asked. The air all about us is filled with demons...."

[Martin Luther]

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"What shall we do with...the Jews?...I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings...are to be taken from them."

[Martin Luther]

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"What shall we do with...the Jews?...I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews."

[Martin Luther]

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"What shall we do with...the Jews? I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach on pain of loss of life and limb."

[Martin Luther]

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"What shall we do with...the Jews?...set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them."

[Martin Luther]

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"What shall we do with...the Jews?...their homes also should be razed and destroyed."

[Martin Luther]

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"When I was a child there were many witches, and they bewitched both cattle and men, especially children."

[Martin Luther]

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"At Sussen, the Devil carried off, last Good Friday, three grooms who had devoted themselves to him."

[Martin Luther]

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"I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kulenberg did."

[Martin Luther]

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"I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist."

[Martin Luther]

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"I maintain that some Jew wrote it [the Book of James]who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any."

[Martin Luther]

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"The Devil fears the word of God, He can't bite it; it breaks his teeth."

[Martin Luther]

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"The Devil, it is true, is not exactly a doctor who has taken degrees, but he is very learned, very expert for all that. He has not been carrying on his business during thousands of years for nothing...."

[Martin Luther]

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"The fact that [the biblical book]Hebrews is not an epistle of St. Paul, or of any other apostle, is proved by what it says in chapter two...."

[Martin Luther]

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"...two devils rose from the water, and flew off through the air, crying, 'Oh, oh, oh!' and turning one over another, in sportive mockery...."

[Martin Luther]

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"We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman."

[Martin Luther]

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"We should throw the Epistle of James out of this school [the University of Wittenberg]..."

[Martin Luther]

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"In our sad condition, our only consolation is the expectancy of another life. Here below all is incomprehensible."

[Martin Luther, Table Talk]

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"Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their heads in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise."

[Martin Luther, Riffel, Kirchengeschichte]

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"I confess that mankind has a free will, but it is to milk kine, to build houses, etc., and no further."

[Martin Luther, Table Talk]

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"Jews and papists are ungodly wretches; they are two stockings made of one piece of cloth."

[Martin Luther, Table Talk]

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"Antichrist is the pope and the Turk [Muslim]together. A beast full of life must have a body and soul. The spirit or soul of Antichrist is the pope, his flesh or body the Turk."

[Martin Luther, Table Talk]

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"When my heart is cold and I cannot pray as I should I scourge myself with the thought of the impiety and ingratitude of my enemies, the Pope and his accomplices and vermin, and Zwingli, so that my heart swells with the righteous indignation and hatred and I can say with warmth and vehemence: 'Holy be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done!' And the hotter I grow the more ardent do my prayers become."

[Martin Luther, Table Talk Number 2387 a-b, as quoted in Frans Funck-Bretano, _Luther_, 1939, p.319]

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"Whoever would like to cherish such adders and puny devils -- who are the worst enemies of Christ and us all all -- to befriend them and to do them honour simply in order to be cheated, plundered, robbed, disgraced, and forced to howl and curse and suffer every kind of evil, to him I would commend the Jews. And if this is not enough, let him tell the Jews to use his mouth as a privy, or else crawl into the Jew's hind parts, and there worship the holy thing, so as afterwards to be able to boast of having been merciful, and of having helped the Devil and his progeny to blaspheme our dear Lord."

[Martin Luther, "Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor" by Peter F. Weiner (1985, Gustav Broukal Press)]

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"If I had to baptise a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words 'I baptise thee in the name of Abraham'."

[Martin Luther, "Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor" by Peter F. Weiner (1985, Gustav Broukal Press)]

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"If the peasants are in open rebellion, then they are outside the law of God. Therefore let all who are able slash, strike down, and kill (those who rebel) openly and secretly, remembering that there can be nothing more venomous, harmful, or devilish than a rebel. It is exactly like killing a mad dog."

[Martin Luther]