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Martin Luther letter critical of Jews is up for auction

July 10, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — A letter written nearly 500 years ago by Martin Luther that refers to Jews as “devils incarnate” is up for auction.

But scholars are cautioning that the man responsible for the Protestant Reformation shouldn’t be called anti-Semitic.

The letter is expected to sell for at least $300,000. Boston-based RR Auction is handling the sale, which concludes Wednesday.

The letter was written around September 1543 to a top official at Berlin’s St. Nicholas Church.

Luther expert Eric Metaxas says the renowned cleric sympathized with Jews early on because of the poor way they were treated by the Catholic Church.

Metaxas says Luther had strong negative feelings about Jews later in life, but he cautions against comparing that to today’s anti-Semitism.

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