©2008 NewFoundations

Luther On "Woman"

edited 9/19/11

By virtue of his stand against ecclesiastical abuses, Luther, an Augustian monk and ordained priest, set in motion a chain of events which altered world history. Convinced that redemption depended entirely upon faith, and that the Bible was the only infallible rule of faith and practice, he initiated demands for reform that ultimately culminated in his excommunication. Undeterred, Luther persisted in promulgating his beliefs to an ever-widening circle of the faithful laying the foundation for Protestantism.

He is also known for his powerful translation of the Bible into the German vernacular and his contributions to pedagogy.

To “please his father and spite the devil and the Pope,” Luther married a former nun who was rather plain and hardly designed to arouse one’s passions. Although devoted to her and their six children, Luther never hesitated to exert his patriarchal authority, for he believed that “woman is a frail vessel.”


Martin Luther (l843--l586)
-- German priest and theologian, founder of the New High German language, and initiator of the Protestant Reformation the consequences of which still reverberate around the world


Never any good came out of female domination. God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all.
-- Table Talk

The evil spirit takes delight (as he did from the beginning with Adam) in using a woman to make a fool of man -- if he cannot make him godless, as he much prefers to do.
-- Letter, November 2, 1525

The hair is the finest ornament women have. . . . I like women to let their hair fall down their back, it is a most agreeable sight.
-- Table Talk

Women . . . have . . . small and narrow chests, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children. . . . A woman is, or at least should be, a friendly, courteous, and a merry companion in life . . . the honor and ornament of the house, and inclined to tenderness, for thereunto are they chiefly created, to bear children, and to be the pleasure, joy and solace of their husbands.
-- Table Talk

What defects women have, we must check them for in private, gently by word of mouth, for woman is a frail vessel.
-- Table Talk

I wish that women would repeat the Lord’s Prayer before opening their mouths.
-- As quoted in R. Bainton’s Here I Stand

If women get tired and die of bearing, there is no harm in that; let them die as long as they bear; they are made for that.
-- Essays