Laughing with Luther – quips and comments from the supper table


In this post we go inside Martin Luther’s house, into his home and we take our seats around his table and listen in on the conversation.

As students and friends were invited by the ever-hospitable Luthers to eat with them, some wrote down some of the things that Martin said. These various sayings were collected and are now usually published under the title of  Table Talk.

Here are a few examples.

On ‘Life Cycles’
‘My boy Hans is now entering his seventh year. Every seven years a person changes; the first period is infancy, the second childhood. At fourteen they begin to see the world and lay the foundations of education, at twenty one the young men seek marriage, at twenty eight they are householders and patres-familias, at thirty five they are magistrates in church and state, until forty two when they are kings. After that the senses begin to decline. Thus every seven years brings a new condition in body and character, as has happened to me and to us all.’ (p.43)

On Husbands and Wives
‘A good woman deserves a good husband. To have peace and love in marriage is a gift which is next to the knowledge of the gospel. [Turning to his wife:] Katie, you have a good husband who loves you. Let another be Empress, but you give thanks to God!’ (p.46)

‘God first created a single man, which was a good idea! Then he created woman, and therewith the trouble began! And so the monks, acquiescing with God’s first plan, live without wives, for they are wiser than God!’ (p.152)

On investing in your Children’s education
‘The best thing that ever came out of my father’s property is that he brought me up. No money is ever better spent than in education.’ (p.229)

On badly written worship songs
‘How does it happen that with reference to secular things we have so many a fine poem and so many a beautiful song, while for spiritual edification we have such wretched, cold things?’ (p.100)

On being willing to admit the Pope to church membership
‘If the Pope will throw away his crown and descend from his throne and primacy, and confess that he has erred, has destroyed the church and poured out innocent blood, then we will receive him into the church.’

This sample of sayings are from Table Talk, Smith and Gallinger edition 1915. Modern paperback edition published 1979 by Keats, USA. The headings have been added.

For the first part of the Martin Luther Story click here
For the next part of the Martin Luther Story click here

© 2008 Lex Loizides


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