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It's a little late

My last year in seminary, I did a paper on Paul Althaus, a fascinating and tragic man. He was one of the ablest Luther scholars ever and a fine theologian in most ways. But his tragic error was that he thought that he and those like him could control Hitler, to use him as a tool to fix what was wrong with the Weimar Republic and talk him out of his anti-Semitism, or at least prevent him from acting on it.

Eva Leo, our artist-in-residence who, together with her husband, a pastor, spent much of the war in a concentration camp (they were active in the Confessing Church), made it a point to be there when I presented my paper. She and her husband were personal friends of Althaus and vehemently defended him. I tended to agree, on the basis of my reading. By the time Althaus realized what Hitler actually was and that he couldn't be "steered," it was too late. He had mounted the tiger and could never get off. He kept trying. After a certain point, you can see in his writings (k…

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