“Doctrines point to eternal mysteries to be enjoyed and contemplated but never exhausted”
I interviewed Professor Christine Helmer about her work Theology and the End of Doctrine. We talk about how doctrine became a dirty word; that doctrine inhabits a dialectic of construction and surprise, time and eternity; the lure of eternity; why so many have got Schleiermacher wrong; she critiques the cultural-linguistic approach which situates doctrine as grammar of a worldview; and what contemporary doctrinal work excites her today. In the latter part of the interview we talk about her new book How Luther Became the Reformer – which explores partly, how Luther became a figure of German nationalism, a prescient conversation for our time.
Christine is Professor of German and Religious Studies at Northwestern University, She is the current holder of the Arthur E. Andersen Teaching and Research Professorship. In 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Helsinki for her work on German reformer Martin Luther, as well as for her commitment to theology as an important contributor to the intellectual life of the university. During the academic year 2017-2018, she is Visiting Corcoran Chair in the Center for Christian-Jewish Relations at Boston College, researching Luther’s anti-Judaism in his biblical interpretation. Professor Helmer is Associate Chair of Willard Hall. She teaches undergraduate courses on key religious thinkers in western thought, religion and sports, and the popular “Why College?” class. Her course “Luther and the West” is available as a free massive open online course (MOOC)
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