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Charles Wukasch (A Practical Gramm…): Some of you may know about this already, but here are two interesting websites they’ve added to Omni…
Charles Wukasch (Martin Luther and…): One minor correction on an earlier message: I said that the Wendish custom of Hexenbrennen (witch b…
David Zersen (Martin Luther and…): I have a lovely memory of being on top of the Brocken in the Harz mountains as I told the story of t…
Charles Wukasch (Martin Luther and…): Wendish: chodojtypalenje German: Hexenbrennen English: witch burning One of my Wendis…
Charles Wukasch (A Practical Gramm…): Abbreviations: N = nominative case, A = accusative case, G = genitive case, D = dative case, P = pre…
Charles Wukasch (A Practical Gramm…): Instrumental Case We have one more case to discuss, with the exception of the uncommon vocative ca…

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« Charles Wukasch Atten… | Home | Serbska folklora w Te… »

Martin Luther and Witches

Thursday 30 March 2017 at 12:19 pm.

Jara zajimawe! Sehr interessant! Very interesting!

I was once asked if I had any documentation for the quote in my book that Luther had supervised the burning of witches in Wittenberg. (Remember, I was citing the work of another scholar.) An old Concordia friend sent me the link below. Of course, after 500 years it's hard to know the exact truth, but it seems that the truth may lie somewhere in-between. So, maybe although Luther didn't actually light the fire himself, one might argue that his approval of the same was tantamount to actually carrying out the act.

It reminds me of Henry II's famous (infamous?) remark "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" Several of his knights took him literally and murdered Thomas á Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

Luther and witches

Here's an excerpt from the article:

[During his time there were individual persecutions, for example the burning of four alleged witches in Wittenberg. At that time, however, the Reformer was not in Wittenberg, and he never uttered a word about the case. Luther himself held an aggressive sermon against witches in 1526. Within five minutes, his parishioners in Wittenberg heard him say five times that witches must be killed. He justified his opinion with the Second Book of Moses in the Bible: "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live."]

On a humorous concluding note, as a long-time teacher, I've worked under some Machiavellian female chairpersons. It makes me wonder if they maybe aren't witches. LOL. I'm reminded of what people said about Livia Drusilla, the scheming wife of Caesar Augustus: "When she was a little girl, she was bitten by a poisonous snake - and the snake died."

three comments

Charles Wukasch

Wendish: chodojtypalenje
German: Hexenbrennen
English: witch burning

One of my Wendish-speaking friends (she was a student assistant at last summer’s Wendish course in Bautzen) said that the Wendish students at Leipzig University are preparing for their “witch-burning” party. Although May 1st is, of course, past, they’ll celebrate it next week.

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht or Hexennacht (“Witches’ Night”), the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are said to hold a large gathering on Mt. Brocken. Mt. Brocken has always played a role in legends and has been connected with witches and devils. Goethe (Germany’s most famous author) used the legends in his play Faust. The “Brocken Spectre” is a common phenomenon on this misty mountain, where a climber’s shadow cast upon fog creates eerie optical effects.

Charles Wukasch - 05/5/2017 00:56
David Zersen

I have a lovely memory of being on top of the Brocken in the Harz mountains as I told the story of the witches descent on the mountain to my four grandchildren (ages 6-9). Suddenly a helicopter (Hubschrauber) appeared over the mountain and I told the kids, “Here they come.” The awe on their faces was priceless.

David Zersen - 05/5/2017 00:58
Charles Wukasch

One minor correction on an earlier message: I said that the Wendish custom of Hexenbrennen (witch burning) which the University of Leipzig Wendish students still observe (tongue-in-cheek, of course) was to be held later in May. One of my Wendish student friends said that, no, they had held the ceremony in April. What they do is interesting. They write down on little slips of paper things of a negative nature which have happened (e.g., “I failed an exam”) and blame everything on the witch (a dummy waiting to be burned). Finally, the effigy is set ablaze. It’s all in good fun. I wish I had been there to party with them.

Charles Wukasch - 05/14/2017 10:07




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