Peter A. Lillback’s thesis that Thanksgiving is rooted in the theology of Martin Luther is wrong on several levels (“Roots of Thanksgiving,” Nov. 27).

The American holiday was declared as such by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, as a time for thanking God by all citizens, not just those of Protestant beliefs. The concept of thanksgiving for good fortune dates not to Luther, but to the dawn of mankind. Talismans and ritualistic artifacts have been found in excavations of even prehistoric societies. Lillback himself quotes Psalms, attributed to biblical Israel's King David, writing 2500 years before Luther lived.

And of particular irony, this commentary, in praise of a man with virulent anti-Semitic beliefs, was published on a day that ended at sundown with the lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday of thanksgiving for the redemption of the Temple in second-century B.C. Jerusalem.

Steven Barrer, Huntingdon Valley, sjbarrer@gmail.com

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