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Monday, July 16, 2012

Vom Schem Hamphoras – by Martin Luther (a translation, Part 3)

This continues from Part 2.  See Part 1 for an introduction and Table of Contents.
This post continues Luther's translation of the blasphemous Jewish fable published by Porchetus, the Toledot Yeshu, which ends at paragraph 17.

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Vom Schem Hamphoras
by Martin Luther

(Part 3 continued from Part 2)

     7.  Unto him answered the young men of Israel: If you are the Messiah, then show us a sign. What do you want for a sign from me? They said: make a lame man stand as we are. He said:  Bring one unto me. When they brought him to a lame man who had never walked, and he spoke over him Schem Hamphoras; the same hour he went out and was on his feet. There they all bowed before him and said: He is Messiah without a doubt. They also brought to him a leper, of whom he spoke the name and put his hand on him, and he soon was healed. Therefore a lot of loose people fell out of our people to him.
     8.  But the sages, because they saw that Israel began to believe in him, caught him and brought him to the Queen Helena who held the land of Israel at that time, and said to her: Gracious Madam, this man does magic and entices the world.  Jesus of Nazareth replied: Gracious Madam, the prophets have prophesied before times of me, as one speaks thus: "It will grow out a branch of the root of Jesse" (Isaiah. 11:1), the same I am, but about this spoke David: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked" (Ps. 1:1).
     9.  She said: Are these things in your law that he says? They answered: Yes, it is in our laws, but it is not said by him, but so it is written of him Deuteronomy 13:5:. "The Prophet will be killed, because he has taught wrong against God," but on the Messiah is thus written (Jeremiah 23:6) "In his days Judah shall be saved" Then answered this godless one and said unto the queen: I am the same because I can resurrect the dead.
     10.  The Queen sent them toward her most trusted servants, and the godless one brought a dead man to life through Schem Hamphoras; the Queen was astonished from that moment on and said: Verily this is a great miraculous sign, and caused the sages great travesty that they had to leave her with shame; and caused great woe to Israel. And Jesus Nozri [of Nazareth] went out into the upper Galilee.
     11.  And the sages went back to the queen and said to her: Gracious Madam, this man goes around with magic and overturns the creatures.  And she sent out her soldiers that they should catch him, but the people in Galilee did not want to suffer, but again they fought.  But he said, Ye shall not fight for me, for the power of my father in heaven and the signs that he has given me will defend me well.  And the people of Galilee made birds of clay before him and he spoke over them Schem Hamphoras, and the birds flew so quickly; and they fell on their faces and worshiped him.
     12.  He also the same hour called that a great millstone be brought and thrown into the sea; as this was done, the godless one said the Shem Hamphoras and thus he made that the stone was still at sea, and he sat down on it and said to the soldiers: Go ye to your Madam, and tell her what you saw. Then he stood up in front of their eyes and walked on the sea.
     13.  The soldiers went and told the queen Helena everything they had seen. She was startled about the very extent of the matter and summoned the sages, and said unto them: Ye say that this man Jesus of Nazareth was a wizard, but you shall know that the signs he does prove that he is the true son of God. And they said: Madam, let him come here so we want to expose his wickedness. However, went the elders of Israel, and let go one called Judas Iscariot into the Holy of Holies in the temple, who learned the letters of Schem Hamphoras, just in the way in which Jesus of Nazareth had learned, and tore the flesh on his leg, and everything that he had done.
     14.  So Jesus of Nazareth came there with his company, and the queen told the sages to come also.  And he stepped before the queen and spoke:  David prophesied of me: "Dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me" (Psalm 22:16). But this is said against it also by me, Jeremiah 1:8.: "Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." But the sages contradicted him.
     15.  And he said unto the Queen, I will go to heaven: for so David said of me: "Be exalted, God, above the heavens," (Ps 57:11) and he lifted up his hands like wings, by the name Schem Hamphoras, and flew between heaven and earth.  As the sages saw this, they said to Judas Iscariot that he should say Schem Hamphoras, and go up after him. He went up and wrestled with him that they both fell down together; and the godless one broke an arm: the Christians annually weep over this before their Easter.
     16.  At the same hour the Israelites attacked him, and covered him with blankets, and beat him with rods of shell trees. And said unto the queen Helena: Is he God's son, then let him say who has beaten him, but he could not say it. The Queen said to the sages: Behold, he is in your hands, does to him what you like.
     17.  There they took him, and led him to the gallows; but to whatever tree or beam they hung him on, it immediately broke in two; since he had sworen to all trees and to wood by Schem Hamphoras that they could not hold him. Therefore they went and got a cabbage stalk which grows not as a tree but as an herb, and they hung him on it. Such is not a miracle.  Since that time there grows in the sanctuary all year a stalk, that well  a hundred pounds of seed hang on it. Haec ille. [These are his words.]
..... (to be continued in Part 4)
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A "cabbage stalk" instead of a wooden cross?  The sages were quite "creative".   Luther will now bring his commentary to bear on this ridiculous story of the Jews... in the next Part 4.

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