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Vom Schem Hamphoras, full title: Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ), was a book written by German Reformation leader Martin Luther in 1543, in which he equated Jews with the Devil and described them in vile language.
Schem Hamphoras is the Hebrew rabbinic name for the ineffable name of God, the tetragrammaton. Luther's use of the term was in itself a taunt and insult to Jewish sensitivities. He wrote the tract several months after publishing On the Jews and Their Lies.
In the book he wrote:
- Here in Wittenburg, in our parish church, there is a sow carved into the stone under which lie young pigs and Jews who are sucking; behind the sow stands a rabbi who is lifting up the right leg of the sow, raises behind the sow, bows down and looks with great effort into the Talmud under the sow, as if he wanted to read and see something most difficult and exceptional; no doubt they gained their Shem Hamphoras from that place...
Luther argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people but "the devil's people": he referred to them with vile language in his tract.An English translation of Vom Schem Hamphoras was first published in 1992 as part of The Jew In Christian Theology by Gerhard Falk. Historians have noted Luther's writings contributed to anti-Semitism within the German provinces during his era. In general, they believe that the Nazi Party in the 1930s and 1940s used his writings in an opportunistic way to build up anti-Semitism under their rule. According to the prevailing view among historians, his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany, and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an "ideal underpinning" for the National Socialists' attacks on Jews.
- Judensau - the image of Jews in obscene contact with a large sow (female pig) which first appeared in the thirteenth century.
- Luther and antisemitism
- ↑ Luther, Vom Schem Hamphoras, quoted in Michael, 113.
- ↑ Falk, Gerhard, The Jew in Christian Theology: Martin Luther's Anti-Jewish Vom Schem Hamphoras, Previously Unpublished in English, and Other Milestones in Church Doctrine Concerning Judaism, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1992. ISBN 0899507166.
- ↑ "The assertion that Luther's expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented anti-Semitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion." Johannes Wallmann, "The Reception of Luther's Writings on the Jews from the Reformation to the End of the 19th century", Lutheran Quarterly, n.s. 1 (Spring 1987) 1:72-97.
- ↑ Berger, Ronald. Fathoming the Holocaust: A Social Problems Approach (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 2002), 28; Johnson, Paul. A History of the Jews (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1987), 242; Shirer, William. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960).
- ↑ Grunberger, Richard. The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi German 1933-1945 (NP:Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971), 465.