Martin Luther supported polygamy...

Luther Said: Polygamy Is Permissible
"I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter." (De Wette II, 459, ibid., pp. 329-330.)

It seems Martin Luther supported polygamy or at least he was not against it. I think that he would have been in agreement with the lds prophet Joseph Smith and with plural marriage.

Strange, but I have never heard this from a Luthern’s mouth that Martin Luther supported polygamy.

Just further proof that catholicism is the right choice:)

Tell me honestly. Would you want your wife having multiple husbands? Religious teaching aside I mean.

The website that I posted as some whopper Luthernisms. I can see the theology at play in my area of the world. Not good for a person’s psyche.

That website has some whoppers against everyone but the guy who runs it. Scroll down to the very bottom homepage and click I can’t even begin to describe whats on there. He takes scripture alone to a new level. This guy’s anti-everything (especially the Catholic Church)! Everything he is against is from satan.

I would not seriously consider anything that website contains, even if taken with many tons of salt.

Luther allowed for polygamy, but only in a very narrow sense. Luther scholar Heinrich Boehmer points out that it was only to be in cases of “severe necessity, for instance, if the wife develops leprosy or becomes otherwise unfit to live with her husband…
But this permission is always to be restricted to such cases as severe necessity. The idea of legalizing general polygamy was far from the reformers mind. Monogamy was always to him the regular form of matrimony…” (Luther And The Reformation in Light of Modern Research, 213-214).
This wasn’t like Mormonism !

its all the bibles fault.

I would like to see an actual copy of that letter. Is there a site where it can be found?

I did a search for Luther’s writings and did not find that one.

Concerning sola scripture being insufficient in teaching …

Doesn’t Deuteronomy 17:17 warn God’s people before entering the promised land, “…… not (to) take multiple wives” for themselves."?

Luther personally approved and endorsed the marriage
of Phillip, the Landgrave of Hesse, to a second wife while his first wife was still alive & fine.

I knew this over 15 years ago.

Luther said he couldn’t forbid the marriage
because the New Testament didn’t forbid it.


Can you show me the source of this info?

It’s so easy for people to make claims. Why can’t someone tell me where to find an English translation so I can read it myself?

The wiki has some information on Phillip and polygamy and Martin Luther’s support for polygamy.

Here is the clip from the wiki:

Philip of Hesse controversy
In 1539, Luther became involved in controversy surrounding the bigamy of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, who wanted to marry one of his wife’s ladies-in-waiting. Luther ruled that polygamy was acceptable, noting that the patriarchs of the Old Testament had had more than one wife, and so Philip entered into the second marriage in secret. Philip’s sister made news of the marriage public a few weeks later, scandalizing Germany.[4]

Well, Luther may have been a couple of :wink: french fries short of a Happy Meal, but the :whacky: :hypno: :whacky: :hypno: :whacky: guy running that “jesus-is-savior” site is about the last person who needs to be throwing stones at anybody…:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

:rotfl: The wiki has some info… :rotfl:

Ok. I would like to read the letter for myself or at least see a credible source.

ALSO, the wiki says Luther denied involvement except for taking his confession.

I read the wiki hoping it might lead me to a credible source. It didn’t.

The original website contained the source in german. You will just need to look up that source in German. I believe that it comes from volume 2 of luther’s collected works. The wiki site had information on the marriage. This was confirmed by another poster on this forum. It is rather common knowledge that this polygamous marriage was condoned by Martin Luther. :thumbsup:

I realize that it is hard to believe that Martin Luther supported polygamy and used the bible as a reference, but…such is life. :slight_smile:

I would consider the quotations by Martin Luther to be genuine. The polygamy quotation is referenced. One just needs to locate the source in german or do an English translation of the source and attempt to find it in English.

“One just needs to locate the source in German or do an English translation of the source and attempt to find it in English.”

It would have been good to do this before making the claim.

Also, just because this Webstie or that Website reference a quote your read on another Website, doesn’t make it true.

Lies and myths tend to spread quickly and even well-meaning people can be gullible and repeat lies because they think it is true.

I think I may I have to leave the house to find the truth, this time.

I’ll get back to you when I find a copy of the letter and get it translated. It may take a few days.

If anyone else comes across it please, don’t wait for me. Give us the link or other source.

I have heard it before. It is no lie. The marriage problem is a case of history. And the quotation can be located from the german source. Martin Luther supported polygamy from the quotation that I listed.

From the catholic website:

Philip the Magnanimous (b. 23 Nov., 1504) was married before his twentieth year to Christina, daughter of Duke George of Saxony, who was then in her eighteenth year. He had the reputation of being “the most immoral of princelings”, who ruined himself, in the language of his court theologians, by “unrestrained and promiscuous debauchery”. He himself admits that he could not remain faithful to his wife for three consecutive weeks. The malignant attack of venereal disease, which compelled a temporary cessation of his profligacy, also directed his thoughts to a more ordinate gratification of his passions. His affections were already directed to Margaret von der Saal, a seventeen-year-old lady-in-waiting, and he concluded to avail himself of Luther’s advice to enter a double marriage. Christina was “a woman of excellent qualities and noble mind, to whom, in excuse of his infidelities, he [Philip] ascribed all sorts of bodily infirmities and offensive habits” (Schmidt, “Melancthon”, 367). She had borne him seven children.

The mother of Margaret would only entertain the proposition of her daughter becoming Philip’s “second wife” on condition that she, her brother, Philip’s wife, Luther, Melancthon, and Bucer, or at least, two prominent theologians be present at the marriage. Bucer was entrusted with the mission of securing the consent of Luther, Melancthon and the Saxon princes. In this he was eminently successful. All was to be done under the veil of the profoundest secrecy. This secrecy Bucer enjoined on the landgrave again and again, even when on his journey to Wittenberg (3 Dec., 1539) that “all might redound to the glory of God” (Lenz, op. cit., I, 119). Luther’s position on the question was fully known to him. The latter’s opportunism in turn grasped the situation at a glance. It was a question of expediency and necessity more than propriety and legality. If the simultaneous polygamy were permitted, it would prove an unprecendented act in the history of Christendom; it would, moreover, affix on Philip the brand of a most heinous crime, punishable under recent legislation with death by beheading. If refused, it threatened the defection of the landgrave, and would prove a calamity beyond reckoning to the Protestant cause.

Evidently in an embarrassing quandary, Luther and Melancthon filed their joint opinion (10 Dec., 1539). After expressing gratification at the landgrave’s last recovery, “for the poor, miserable Church of Christ is small and forlorn, and stands in need of truly devout lords and rulers”, it goes on to say that a general law that a “man may have more than one wife” could not be handed down, but that a dispensation could be granted. All knowledge of the dispensation and the marriage should be buried from the public in deadly silence. “All gossip on the subject is to be ignored, as long as we are right in conscience, and this we hold is right”, for “what is permitted in the Mosaic law, is not forbidden in the Gospel” (De Wette-Seidemann, VI, 239-244; “Corp. Ref.”, III, 856-863). The nullity and impossibility of the second marriage while the legality of the first remained untouched was not mentioned or hinted at.

His wife, assured by her spiritual director “that it was not contrary to the law of God”, gave her consent, though on her deathbed she confessed to her son that her consent was feloniously wrung from her. In return Philip pledged his princely word that she would be “the first and supreme wife” and that his matrimonial obligations “would be rendered her with more devotion than before”. The children of Christina “should be considered the sole princes of Hesse” (Rommel, op. cit.).

After the arrangement had already been completed, a daughter was born to Christina, 13 Feb., 1540. The marriage took place (4 March, 1540) in the presence of Bucer, Melancthon, and the court preacher Melander who performed the ceremony. Melander was “a bluff agitator, surly, with a most unsavoury moral reputation”, one of his moral derelictions being the fact that he had three living wives, having deserted two without going through the formality of a legal separation. Philip lived with both wives, both of whom bore him children, the landgravine, two sons and a daughter, and Margaret six sons.

The marriage in spite of all precautions, injunctions, and pledges of secrecy leaked out, caused a national sensation and scandal, and set in motion an extensive correspondence between all intimately concerned, to neutralize the effect on the public mind. Melancthon “nearly died of shame, but Luther wished to brazen the matter out with a lie” (Cambridge Hist., II, 241).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit