Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Premier Lutheran theologian to lecture at Luther Seminary

In addition to stops in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Chicago, the Twin Cities will be included on the spring American lecture tour of the distinguished German Lutheran theologian Dr. Oswald Bayer. Bayer will be delivering a lecture at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, on Friday, March 23, at 1 p.m., in Room 100, Northwestern Hall.

In this lecture, which is free and open to the public, Bayer will be addressing the subject of the nature of the word of God. For Bayer, this word, “which remains forever” (Isaiah 40:8), enters the public realm, apocalyptically, and yet it remains a mystery. The mystery is that of the divine name, which unlike all other mysteries, especially the agonizing mystery of evil and the hardness of heart, is not a riddle that once solved is put aside. It is the mystery of the eternally rich, living, and therefore inexhaustible God.

German theologian Oswald Bayer; photo provided by Lutheran Quarterly

Bayer champions a Lutheran theology that is creative and eager to engage philosophical thought.

Bayer is professor emeritus of systematic theology at the University of Tübingen in Germany. He is particularly engaged in research on Martin Luther and Johann Georg Hamann, and serves as the academic leader of the Luther Academy Sondershausen-Ratzeburg. He is also an ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church of Württemberg and was the editor of Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie from 1986-2006.

Bayer champions a Lutheran theology that is creative and eager to engage philosophical thought. His life’s work has been the exploration of the often polemical engagement of Reformation theology with modern thought. (See, for example, “Theology the Lutheran Way” and “Freedom in Response: Lutheran Ethics: Sources and Controversies,” both published in 2007). He is particularly concerned to ascertain the place and task of Lutheran theology in our time.

This intention is paradigmatically apparent in his book, Johann Georg Hamann as a Radical Enlightener, recently published by Eerdmans. The volume is also available in a Japanese edition. His Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation has been published in German, English, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Professor Vitor Westhelle, of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, lauds Professor Bayer as “[o]ne of the most significant and original Lutheran voices of this generation, in both historical and systematic theology.”

Bayer will also be the keynote speaker on Friday night, March 23, for a private banquet at Augsburg College in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the periodical Lutheran Quarterly. The board and supporters of this journal, along with several Lutheran seminaries, are sponsoring Bayer’s lecture tour in the United States. Lutheran Quarterly is the premier English-language journal of Lutheran theology and history, and has recently published its 100th issue, a remarkable feat for an entirely self-supported academic journal.

For information about the public lecture at Luther Seminary, call 651/641-3456 or visit www.luthersem.edu.

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