9. The Luther Affair

David H. Price

in Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394214
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894734 | DOI:
9. The Luther Affair

Show Summary Details


This chapter describes the tumultuous conclusion to the Johannes Reuchlin controversy, which unfolded in an atmosphere of heightened political instability. Leo X's verdict against Reuchlin, the papal condemnation of his pamphlet for expressing views “impermissibly favorable to Judaism,” was issued in conjunction with Rome's initial condemnation of Martin Luther and his Reformation movement. The chapter documents important connections between Reuchlinists and early Lutherans, including Reuchlin's influence on Luther's biblical exegesis, despite his personal repudiation of the Protestant revolt. In fact, the Reuchlin controversy was a key setting for the formation of Martin Luther's anti-Judaic and anti-Semitic ideology. Moreover, the papal verdict against Reuchlin prefigured the harsh paradigm of the Catholic-Protestant-Jewish dynamic that would soon emerge. As counter-reformation policies hardened, tolerance of Jewish life plummeted in the Papal States.

Keywords: Martin Luther; Johannes Reuchlin; Leo X; Judaism; Reformation; biblical exegesis; anti-Semitic ideology; Reuchlinists; Lutherans

Chapter.  11958 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.