Martin Luther letter critical of Jews is up for auction

Source: Associated Press

By MARK PRATT

BOSTON (AP) — A letter written nearly 500 years ago by Martin Luther in which he refers to Jews as “devils incarnate” during a tirade against a former ally is up for auction, but Luther scholars warn that the man responsible for the Reformation should not be called anti-Semitic.

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The single-page letter, with writing on both sides, is expected to sell for at least $300,000 at the auction being conducted by Boston-based RR Auction that concludes Wednesday.

“Martin Luther items don’t come to auction often, and this is in incredibly great shape for a 500-year-old letter,” said Robert Livingston, RR’s executive vice president.

The letter was written around September 1543 to a top official at Berlin’s St. Nicholas Church in response to a letter from the official requesting Luther’s interpretation of some Biblical verses by which former Luther friend Johann Agricola justified his positive treatment of Jews in what is now Germany.

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