Martin Luther was a Christian priest, German monk, and a notorious anti-Semite who lived from the late fifteenth century until the early sixteenth century. He wrote many anti-Jewish manuscripts and books, and recruited against them for his entire life. Still, he was a monumental Christian leader, who contributed very much to their religion, in ways such as translating the bible into German and leading the Protestant Reformation. However, to Jews he will always be remembered as possibly the worst anti-Semite of all time. (History.com staff. Martin Luther and the 95 Theses)
Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder and his wife Margarethe on November tenth, 1483, in Eisleben, Saxony, which was then part of the Holy Roman Empire. Since he was his father’s firstborn, his father wanted him to pursue being a lawyer, which was a good job even at that time. However, since his school focused mainly on persuasive speaking and writing, grammar, and logic, Luther came to despise it. The only aspect of it that he appreciated was that it sparked him into having an early interest in monastic life. He then went on to go to the University of Erfurt, where he learned arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and philosophy. (wikepedia.org) He graduated and received a master’s degree in 1505. (History.com staff. Martin Luther and the 95 Theses)
Although his father still pushed strongly for Luther to become a lawyer, something bizarre happened to change that. Martin Luther was caught in a massive thunderstorm, and a bolt of lightning almost hit him. He vowed that if he came out of the storm alive, he would become a monk. He kept true to his word, and on July 17, 1505, he abandoned his studies of law to enter an Augustinian monastery. After seven years in the monastery, Luther received his doctorate from Erfurt and became a professor of biblical studies. This led to him eventually accomplishing the feat of translating the bible into German. ("Martin Luther." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition.) ((History.com staff. Martin Luther and the 95 Theses)
There are many possible reasons as to why Luther became such an anti-Semite. For example, he lived in a town in which Jews had been expelled from for ninety years. Also, since he was a Professor in biblical studies, he was convinced that it was the Jews who killed Jesus, and he still held that against them fourteen hundred years later. (jewishencyclopedia.com. Luther, Martin.)
His hatred towards Jews can be categorized into two parts. From the beginning of his life until about 1536, he was much less spiteful, and even felt some compassion towards the Jews for what they had been through over the years like the Crusades. In his later years, Luther became the face of anti-Judaism in Europe. (jewishencyclopedia.com. Luther, Martin.)
Originally, Luther did not act in an anti-Jewish fashion. He even challenged those who defended the hatred of Jews by saying "Absurd theologians defend hatred for the...