Original Research

Reassessing Jacob Strauss and the Mosaic Code

Joel McDurmon
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1253 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1253 | © 2012 Joel McDurmon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 March 2012 | Published: 30 November 2012

About the author(s)

Joel McDurmon, American Vision, Inc., Powder Spring, United States; Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article reviewed claims made by modern scholars Ford Lewis Battles, G.H. Williams, and Theodore Tappert concerning the views of Jacob Strauss (1480–1530), court preacher at Eisenach, particularly in regard to the imposition of Mosaic Law upon the civil realm. Most pointedly, Battles claims Strauss proposed to replace European civil law completely with the ‘entire Mosaic code’. This study examined Strauss’s relevant writings to determine his position on Mosaic Law and civil law and demonstrated that the claims of Battles, Williams, and Tappert were not supported by the primary source evidence. Selections from Strauss’ 51 theses on usury are translated into English for the first time. To a much lesser degree, this study addressed the issue in regard to the Weimar court preacher Wolfgang Stein, against whom the same claims were made. A paucity of evidence rendered those claims dubious in his case. In the end we were left only with unsubstantiated second-hand claims against these men.


Jacob Strauss; Mosaic Law; usury; Martin Luther; Ford Lewis Battles; G.H. Williams; Theodore Tappert


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