Von den Jüden und Iren Lügen [“On the Jews and their Lies”]

AUCTION 15 | Tuesday, March 12th, 2002 at 1:00
Fine Hebrew Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art The Property of Various Owners

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Lot 332

Von den Jüden und Iren Lügen [“On the Jews and their Lies”]

FIRST EDITION. Text in German. Title within historiated woodcut architectural border. Initial letters within decorative woodcut vignettes ff. (143). Dampstained in places, trace foxed, scattered marginal annotations. Recent morocco-backed boards. 4to Adams L-2034; Rosenberger Catalogue, Judaica (HUC, 1971) p.388 fig. III (illustrated)

Wittenberg: Hans Lufft 1543

Est: $4,000 - $5,000
German religious reformer and founder of the Lutheranism movement, Martin Luther grew increasingly hostile towards the Jews following their refusal to accept his religious reformations. In the present work, the most virulent of Luther’s anti-Semitic attacks, he subjects the Jews to a torrent of vile abuse. His practical suggestions range from forced labor to outright banishment: “First, their synagogues should be set on fire and what ever does not burn up should be covered over with dirt so that no one may ever be ale to see a cinder or stone of it. Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed..And this ought be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing and blaspheming.” Due to Luther’s vitupertive anti-Jewish polemics, the Lutheran church retained all the superstitious abhorrence of the Jews inherited from the medieval Catholic church. “Throughout the subsequent centuries, Luther’s ferocious castigation of the Jews provided fuel for anti-Semites and the vicious force of that legacy was still evident in Nazi propoganda.” EJ, XI cols. 584-6. On Luther’s conception of the Jews in this work, see J. Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews- The Medieval Conception of the Jew and its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism (1983) p.183 et al