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The recent translation of some of Luther’s later work concerning
the Jews highlights the complexity of his attitude towards them and the
entirely unacceptable terms in which he expressed himself about them.
Neither the complexity nor the vitriol should be elided in a rush to excuse or
condemn him. Instead, the very nature of Luther’s argument raises
important questions for us in today’s different but not less highly charged
environment. When speech is uncontrolled, as Luther’s was at points, it can
undermine the defence of the gospel rather than sharpen it. There are highly relevant lessons to learn from this pioneer of the Reformation.
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