Lecture Title: Luther against Luther
Scripture and Christian anti-Semitism: past realities and future remedies
Luther’s specific type of early modern anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in his interpretation of the Christian Bible and especially in his attempt to defend the Old Testament as an exclusively Christian book. The lecture invites a close look at key elements of Luther’s overall biblical hermeneutics and the ways in which his approach set him on an unavoidable collision course with Jewish ways of reading scripture, which in turn led him to make inflammatory and demeaning claims against the Jewish people. In the spirit of critical understanding, the lecture moves beyond necessary repudiation of such claims and suggests pathways forward that offer opportunities for building new hermeneutical friendships.
Kirsi Stjerna, a native of Finland, is First Lutheran, Los Angeles/Southwest California Synod Professor of Lutheran History and Theology at PLTS. She serves on the Core Doctoral Faculty at the Graduate Theological Union and is a Docent at University of Helsinki, Finland. She received her Ph.D. in 1995 from Boston University and her Master’s in Theology from Helsinki. She is rostered in the Southwest California Synod, and serves as the Associate Pastor for Finnish ministry in the west coast. One of the general co-editors of The Annotated Luther (6 volumes), and the editor of the Volume 2: Word and Faith, she also contributed to Volumes 2, 5, and 6 with her work on the Large Catechism, Eve, and Luther and the Jews. Her other works include Women and the Reformation, and No Greater Jewel: Thinking of Baptism with Martin Luther.
Brooks Schramm is Kraft Professor of Biblical Studies (OT/Hebrew Bible) at the United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A native Texan, he received his B.A. in German and History from Texas A&M, his M.Div. from Wartburg Seminary, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is an ordained pastor in the ELCA and previously served as a pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Augusta, IL for seven years. His most recent work is the translation and annotation of Martin Luther’s 1543 anti-Jewish treatise, “On the Schem Hamphoras (On the ineffable Name),” in vol. 5 of The Annotated Luther (6 vols; ed. Wengert, Stjerna, Hillerbrand; Fortress Press), in addition to contributions to Volumes 2 and 6 as well, including Luther’s “Preface to the Old Testament.”
9:00 a.m. – Fellowship and refreshments
9:30 a.m. – Lecture
10:40 a.m. – Worship
12:00 p.m. –Lunch in Breakout Groups
*This will be an informal time for all participants to engage in conversation with one of the lecturers or a faculty person in one of our classrooms.
1:00 p.m. – Concluding hymn in Ubuntu
Cost and Registration:
Register here by March 1st to reserve a seat. To ensure everyone has a great experience, we are limiting registration to 100 participants.
The cost is $20 per person and free for PLTS/GTU students who register in advance. If space is available, registration is $30 at the door.
Transportation and Parking Information:
If you can, take BART to the Downtown Berkeley station, and walk one block west on Center Street to PLTS.
Alternatively, you can try to park at the North Berkeley BART station for a daily cost of $3 and ride the train one stop to Downtown Berkeley.
There are also public parking garages within walking distance of PLTS which charge an average of $3/hour.
Free, all-day street parking is usually possible to find west of Martin Luther King Jr. Street. The walk is 3/4 - 1 mile and slightly uphill.
Jane Phillips (Registration)
Kirsi Stjerna (Program)