Demonizing the Jews

Demonizing the Jews : Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany

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The acquiescence of the German Protestant churches in Nazi oppression and murder of Jews is well documented. In this book, Christopher J. Probst demonstrates that a significant number of German theologians and clergy made use of the 16th-century writings by Martin Luther on Jews and Judaism to reinforce the racial antisemitism and religious anti-Judaism already present among Protestants. Focusing on key figures, Probst's study makes clear that a significant number of pastors, bishops, and theologians of varying theological and political persuasions employed Luther's texts with considerable effectiveness in campaigning for the creation of a "de-Judaized" form of Christianity. Probst shows that even the church most critical of Luther's anti-Jewish writings reaffirmed the antisemitic stereotyping that helped justify early Nazi measures against the more

Product details

  • Paperback | 270 pages
  • 154.94 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 1,451.49g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 9 b&w illus.
  • 0253001005
  • 9780253001009
  • 618,387

Review quote

[Probst] . . . challenges the dichotomy between theological anti-Judaism and racial antisemitism, since he sees a great deal of overlap both in the sixteenth as well as the twentieth century. Anti-Judaism and antisemitism existed side-by-side in both Luther's writings and in those of many German Protestants in the Nazi era.June 2013 * Journal of Ecclesiastical History * Christopher J. Probst has written a helpful book on an important topic.Fall 2013 * HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE STUDIES * Probst provides us with a detailed exegesis of each of his sources, which taken together thoughtfully challenge the supposed discontinuity between premodern anti-Judaism and modern antisemitism. * H-Judaic * Probst is to be lauded for presenting an insightful account of the convoluted echoes and reverberations of this deeply problematic aspect of Luther's legacy within German Protestantism over the longue duree. * German Studies Review * Probst illuminates the grim reality of Germany from 1933 to 1939, an era in which the Nazis disavowed Enlightenment humanitarianism and internationalism in its various forms and turned the secular state against the most prominent beneficiaries of the Enlightenment, assimilated German Jews. * American Historical Review * [R]epresents a valuable addition . . . .1/13/15 * H-Soz-U-Kult * [B]y introducing us to new figures and showing us how three different church groups in Germany responded to 'The Jewish Question,' this book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the churches under Nazism. * Lutheran Quarterly * This is a useful, clearly written, conscientious supplement. . . .31.3 2013 * German History * Christopher Probst has written an insightful analysis of the ways in which Protestant reformer Martin Luther's anti-Jewish writings were used by German Protestants during the Third Reich. * Contemporary Church History Quarterly * This book is clearly a worthwhile read for a Jewish audience unaware of the basis of Protestant anti-Semitism as a component of the overall phenomenon. * AJL Reviews *show more

About Christopher J. Probst

Christopher J. Probst is a visiting assistant professor of modern European history at Saint Louis University. He was a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial more

Table of contents

List of AbbreviationsIntroduction1. Protestantism in Nazi Germany2. "Luther and the Jews"3. Confessing Church and German Christian Academic Theologians4. Confessing Church Pastors5. German Christian Pastors and Bishops6. Pastors and Theologians from the Unaffiliated Protestant "Middle"ConclusionBibliographyshow more

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