Prof. Dr. Brooks Schramm

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Schramm is Professor of Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During his two months at the Johannes a Lasco Library, he is translating, introducing, and annotating Martin Luther’s 1543 anti-Jewish treatise, ‘Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi’. The finished product will be included in the new 6-volume edition of Luther’s works, The Essential Luther (ed. Timothy Wengert, Kirsi Stjerna, and Hans Hillerbrand; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015-).

‘Schem Hamphoras’ is Luther’s transliteration of the Hebrew phrase for the ‘ineffable name of God’ // ‘der unaussprechliche Name Gottes’. In the treatise, Luther mounts a sustained satirical and vulgar attack on Jewish mystical traditions that attach special powers to God’s personal name. The treatise is a quintessential example of the extreme animosity that the older Luther held toward Judaism and the Jewish people. At present, only one translation of the treatise exists in English, and it is a translation that should now be replaced.