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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vom Schem Hamphoras – by Martin Luther (a translation, Part 1)

[2018-04-25: see added note below in red; 2017-06-25: see this later blog post for downloadable PDF of this entire translation.]
     I have previously blogged about this writing of Luther against the Jews – Vom Schem Hamphorashere.  Dr. Gerhard Falk, a Jew, boasted that his published English translation was the only one available since Concordia Publishing House had not included it in their Luther's Works series.  I also mentioned in another post that I may translate this work because of its spiritual importance.
     I see in the CPH Prospectus for the "New Series"  of Luther's Works (page 21, item 6.28) that they plan only to translate the second part of Luther's "little book".  Why?  Because the first part is Luther's writing directly against the Jews while the second part is about the lineage or genealogy of Christ.  CPH does not want to appear to be an "anti-Semite" ... like ... you know who.  But why would CPH translate even the second part of Vom Schem Hamphoras since Dr. Gerhard Falk has already translated and published it in his book 20 years ago? (Wikipedia article here).  Hmmm... it appears the Jewish Dr. Falk has trumped you CPH.  Not only that, he danced on the LC-MS proclamation condemning Luther.  How the Jews love you, LC-MS!  In the same year 1983 you both upheld the Doctrine of Objective Justification (CTCR pagePDF here) and condemned Luther... which is it?  Ah, but how the Christian faith languishes...  a faith that is supposed to believe the words of Jesus:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  – John 14:6
     A quick search of the Internet shows Falk's book is out of print and so one can only obtain an English translation of this work of Luther either by buying a $400 used copy of this book on Amazon or by going to the nearest library that has a copy.
     However, this series of blog posts is dedicated to:
  • spite the devil,
  • build Christian faith, 
  • honor those Christian writers before Luther who also warned against the Jews, 
  • honor the old (German) Missouri Synod that held up Luther as the only Reformer of the church, 
  • show that today's LC-MS is not the old Missouri Synod because they avoid him, and
  • honor the wonderful comment received on my original posting on Vom Schem Hamphoras
     I plan to publish my own English translation of this great work of Luther in this series of posts so that the whole world can freely have it and Christians don't have to be exposed to the attacks of the Jewish Dr. Gerhard Falk.  I may even insert comments along the way and show Dr. Falk that his Jewish comments always missed the mark in spiritual matters.
     Just like the future CPH version, I will use the St. Louis Edition, volume 20, columns 2028 - 2109.  I am furnishing a link here for the reader to download a scanned copy (5+ MB PDF) of the original German publication so that they may follow along by my references to the column and paragraph numbers.  Each paragraph was numbered in the original German: the first section Vom Schem Hamphoras is paragraphs 1 – 82, the Lineage of Christ is paragraphs 83 – 192.  I will follow the original paragraph numbering.  And I plan also to follow at least some of the footnotes in the original where they are spiritually important.  To help distinguish Luther's text from all other notes, I will use a dark blue fontBecause of the length of this "little book" by Luther, it will necessarily take some time and I will tie the posts together with a sequencing of "Parts"... this is Part 1.
     A complete download is available here - updated 8/1/2012.
     Luther always sympathized with the poor Jewish people, not the Jewish "religion" and its teachings.  In paragraph # 60 (in Part 7), Luther said this:
So mocks the evil spirit of his unfortunate captive Jews...
Franz Pieper spoke like Luther when he said of the Jews:
Poor people!  But none of us has cause to rise above the Jews striving for earthly things.  If God's grace would not have mercy on us, we would also act according to our own ways.
Lord, have mercy on us.  
May this translation be to the glory of God the Father and His only Son Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the whole lost world!  Amen!

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Dr. Martin Luther's Writing of Vom Schem Hamphoras 
and the Lineage of Christ, Matthew 1.*
[D. Martin Luthers Schrift vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi, Matth. 1.]
March, 1543.
(Original German text taken from the St. Louis Edition, volume 20, columns 2028 - 2109 (Google); HathiTrust copy here; My Dropbox copy here.)
Translated by BackToLuther using Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and PROMT (Russian) Translator. 

    1. The next book I promised, I wanted to expose how the frantic, miserable Jews lie and blaspheme with their Schem Hamphoras, as Porchetus writes in his book called Victoria. This I have done herewith to honor our faith, and opposed the devilish lies of the Jews, that also they who want to become like Jews may see what they must believe and hold for beautiful articles with the damned Jews. Because, as I related in that book, my opinion is not to write against the Jews as I was hoping to convert them. And I have in that book mentioned I did not want to call it "Against The Jews" but rather "On The Jews and Their Lies", so that we Germans know historically what a Jew is and to warn our Christians about them, as of the devil himself, and to strengthen and honor our faith; not to convert the Jews who are as possible to convert as the devil.
     *) This document was published some time in March 1543 (on March 7 Luther wrote to Justus Jonas that he had done it) with George Rau (Rhaw) of Wittenberg and was printed again in the same year. Then in 1544 with Nickel Schirlentz of Wittenberg.  It  can be found in these collections: in Wittenberg (1556), Volume V, pp. 509b, in Jena (1562), Vol, VIII, pp. 108b, in Altenburg, Volume VIII, page 277, in the Leipzig , Volume XXI, page 614 and in Erlanger, Volume 32, page 275. Moreover, it is still printed in Georgii Nigrini "Jewish Enemy", Frankfurt am Main, 1605. The Erlanger is the text after the last original edition of Nickel Schirlentz. We share with him afterwards, under comparison of Wittenberg and Jena editions. 
..... (to be continued in Part 2)
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I will provide this translation in 2 stages, dividing it into Luther's 2 major sections.  
Table of Contents – First Section, concluded in Part 8:
  • Introduction – Paragraphs 1 & 2 (Parts 1 & 2) - sequel to On The Jews and Their Lies
     Body Text
  • Paragraphs 1 - 2: Introduction to Jewish fable published by Porchetus (Part 2)
  • Paragraphs 3 - 17: The Jewish fable “Schem Hamphoras” – Luther’s translation (Pts 23)
  • Paragraphs 18 - 20: Luther first remarks of contempt on this fable (Pt 4)
  • Paragraphs 21 - 26: Luther’s first pass recounting the individual points made in fable (Pt 4)
  • Paragraphs 27 - 29: Luther’s second remarks of contempt (Pt 4)
  • Paragraph 28 : Luther’s second pass on fable’s points (Pt 4)
  • Paragraph 29: Luther’s third remarks of contempt  (Pt 4)
  • Paragraph 30  : Did Luther make his judgment of Jews too coarse and inedible? (Pt 5)
  • Paragraphs 31 - 33: Three mockeries – of God, of us Christians, of Jews, and...  (Pt 5)
  • Paragraphs 34 - 36: “... vain, dead, worthless letters” of Schem Hamphoras (Pt 5)
  • Paragraphs 37 - 39:  Luther’s answer to:  Christians do the same thing – in the Sacraments (Pt 5)
  • Paragraphs 40 - 41: The Pope’s jugglery, enchantments (Pt 5)
  • Paragraphs 42 - 54: Explanation of the words “Schem Hamphoras” (Pt 6)
  • Paragraphs 55 - 58: Luther’s rhetorical questions showing fable’s illogical nature (Pts 6, 7)
  • Paragraph 59: The sow’s behind, the Rabbi, and the Talmud (Pt 7)
  • Paragraphs 60 - 69: Scham HaPeres - devil’s version of Schem Hamphoras  (Pt 7)
  • Paragraph 70: Luther’s prayer to God  (Pt 7)
  • Paragraphs 71 - 73: The abyss of hell; concluding remarks on “Schem Hamphoras” fable  (Pt 7)
  • Paragraph 74: Luther’s addresses the Jewish Tetragrammaton and the names of God  (Pt 8)
  • Paragraphs 75 - 81: Luther refutes Jewish Tetragrammaton; names of God, esp. Jehovah  (Pt 8)
  • Paragraph 82: Luther’s summary – Jews do not have the Word of God (Pt 8)
The next post presents Part 2, which concludes the general introduction, and paragraphs 1 - 6.
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[2017-12-06: see later post on Franz Pieper's recommended portion on the name 'Jehovah'; and this post offers a downloadable PDF version.]
2018-04-25: Ewald Plass, in his 1959 book What Luther Says p. 687 #2131, translated a portion of paragraph 2 of the introduction. He added the following comment in a footnote: 
3 The words are in Luther’s writing on the Shem Hamphoras and the genealogy of Christ as recorded in Matthew 1. As to the Shem Hamphoras, the Jews contended that Jesus had performed miracles by sorcery, by pronouncing the unspeakably sacrosanct name of Jehovah.— In the same year appeared the Reformer’s second major writing against the Jews and their lies about Christ and His religion. It is incisive, vehement, and, in part, extremely bitter. Obviously, Luther was deeply moved. To ascribe his vitriolic outbursts merely to the irritability of advancing age is an oversimplification. The Reformer had at first hoped that an honest presentation of the pure Gospel to the Jews would win them in great numbers. But he was increasingly disillusioned. The Jews so hardened themselves that he calls them stock-stein-eisen-teufel-hart in the opening remarks of the publication that contains our selection.


  1. Dear BackToLuther

    Thank you SO MUCH for putting in all this work translating Luther's last pamphlet. I wonder if he died because the Jews poisoned him for writing it. This would be about their speed.

    I don't trust Gerhard Falk's translation for one sentence. I don't know any German, but even I can tell from comparing Falk with Luther's 1543 original that Falk has deliberately butchered/doctored Luther's language. For example he persistently alters the spellings of Schem Hamphoresh and Scham Haperes. Why? Only a Jew would know, but rest assured the motive is Satanic.

    In case you haven't seen it before, here is the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek—Munich scanned PDF of a 1543 original copy, which you can download:[mets]

    1. Anonymous:
      There have been many people who have gone out from Luther but were not of Luther's faith. The Anabaptists, the Reformed, even Julius Streicker of the Der Stürmer (Nazi, Third Reich) fame as reported of his testimony at the Nuremberg trials. Anyone who professes the negative writings of Luther against the papacy, against the Jews, or against the Turks (Islam, Muslims) but is not a Christian, i.e. believes that even though they deserve only death and damnation yet God was in Christ reconciling the whole world to Himself, has in reality the same faith as the Jews – that salvation is by works, not faith ... and so "grace is no more grace" (Romans 11:6).
      Although you profess support for Luther's anti-Jewish writing, you have not spoken of a Christian faith. I hope that is an oversight... for your sake.
      Your point about Dr. Gerhard Falk struck me for I did not find his translation to be inadequate. In fact I was surprised that I could only find one major fault which I pointed out at the end of Part 2. Dr. Falk is far more knowledgable than I am in many areas. He is a scholar for today's world, even though he is an unbeliever. The painful thing for me is that many modern "Lutheran" theologians sound just like him! I will even go so far as to say that I wondered that Dr. Falk was "converted" to Judaism by his Jewish wife and was not born a Jew – Dr. Falk strangely used a New Testament verse in the preface to his book:
      "No greater love has any man than that he gives his life for another." (John 15:13, translation?)
      However I do not hold much hope for Dr. Falk as I was amazed that he could translate this work of Luther and yet not abhor the blatant Jewish lies.

      I have received a few other comments to my blog that were anti-Jewish and also who were obviously n o t Christians, and so I have not published them. Because your comment was ambiguous, I have published it. May you (and Dr. Gerhard Falk) b e l i e v e what God said, as Luther did (John 3:16):
      For God so loved the w o r l d , that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever b e l i e v e t h in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
      Do you, Anonymous, believe it – the vicarious satisfaction that Christ won for all of us on the cross? Luther did.

  2. Sorry to see the antisemitism in the first of these comments, which doesn't exactly advance the author's point.

    1. Your use of the word “antisemitism” to accuse the first responder “Anonymous” reminds me of those who came to Jesus during a certain “season” and spoke of the “Galilaeans” who were slaughtered by Pilate. Jesus answered them concerning not only those “Galilaeans”, but also the 18 people who died when the “Tower of Siloam” fell on them:

      Luke 13:2 and Luke 13:4 –
      Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? … Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

      Jesus’s counsel for those who speak of others:
      Luke 13:3 – I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.


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