Martin Luther on Islam and the Koran

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I have some parts of Mohammed’s Koran which in German might be called a book of sermons or doctrines of the kind that we call pope’s decretals. When I have time I must translate it into German so that everyone may see what a foul and shameful book it is.

In the first place, he greatly praises Christ and Mary as being the only ones without sin, and yet he believes nothing more of Christ than that he is a holy prophet, like Jeremiah or Jonah, and denies that he is God’s Son and true God. Furthermore, he does not believe that Christ is the Saviour of the world who died for our sins, but that he preached to his own time and completed his work before his death, just like any other prophet.

On the other hand, Mohammed highly exalts and praises himself and boasts that he has talked with God and the angels, and that since Christ’s office of prophet is now complete, he has been commanded to bring the world to his faith, and if the world is not willing to compel it or punish it with the sword; there is much glorification of the sword in it. Therefore the Turks think that their Mohammed is much higher and greater than Christ, for the office of Christ has come to an end and Mohammed’s office is still in force. ...

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Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
One wonders what language the Koran was in that Luther wanted to translate into German - surely he didn't know Arabic...

Addition: I now see there was a Latin translation done in 1143.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It’s interesting that there was not a Spanish translation by Luther's time.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
It’s interesting that there was not a Spanish translation by Luther's time.
I get what you're saying given the Islamic presence in the Iberian Peninsula for so long. Given the context of the post, though, it got me wondering...Did Luther know Spanish, too?

I wouldn't be surprised given how widely educated such men were back in those days.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I get what you're saying given the Islamic presence in the Iberian Peninsula for so long. Given the context of the post, though, it got me wondering...Did Luther know Spanish, too?

I wouldn't be surprised given how widely educated such men were back in those days.
I honestly doubt it. Yes, Luther was highly educated, but I can see neither need nor opportunity for him to learn Spanish. It was the trip of a lifetime that he got to go to Rome. I therefore doubt, given the fairly insulated nature of the various kingdoms of Europe at the time, and the distance to the nearest Spanish-speaking land, that Luther knew Spanish. Of course, I could be totally wrong, but I would say the chances are slim. Interesting inquiry, though.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
I honestly doubt it. Yes, Luther was highly educated, but I can see neither need nor opportunity for him to learn Spanish. It was the trip of a lifetime that he got to go to Rome. I therefore doubt, given the fairly insulated nature of the various kingdoms of Europe at the time, and the distance to the nearest Spanish-speaking land, that Luther knew Spanish. Of course, I could be totally wrong, but I would say the chances are slim. Interesting inquiry, though.
That was my thought, too. But the "what if" is fascinating. The more I think about it, too, I think anybody running in academic circles back then would shared Latin for a lingua franca.
 
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