Christine Helmer Professor of Religious Studies, Arthur E. Andersen Teaching and Research Professor, Department of Religious Studies

For details on the Luther conference 2016 please see website

Christine Helmer (Ph.D. Yale) is Professor of Religious Studies at Northwestern University. She also has a courtesy appointment in the Department of German. She is also the current holder of the Arthur E. Andersen Teaching and Research Professorship. Professor Helmer’s area of research and teaching specialization is Christian theology from historical, systematic, and constructive perspectives. Her work is focused on German intellectual history with primary interest in the theology of Martin Luther, the philosophy and theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher, and the flourishing of scholarship on Luther and on religion in early twentieth-century Germany, known as the Lutherrenaissance. She is also interested in ways in which theologians can make knowledge claims about God, theology’s conversation with the modern study of religion, and how the theological perspective can contribute to the humanities and social sciences.

Dr. Helmer is the author of many articles as well as contributing editor (and co-editor) of numerous volumes in biblical theology, philosophy of religion, Schleiermacher studies, and Luther studies, including most recently The Global Luther (Fortress Press 2009), Transformations in Luther’s Theology(EVA-Leipzig 2011), and Lutherrenaissance: Past and Present (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2015). She is the main editor for the Christianity section of the Encyclopedia of Bible and its Reception (de Gruyter). Her monograph, The Trinity and Martin Luther (Zabern 1999), shows how the Trinity is an important doctrine for Luther. Her new book, Theology and the End of Doctrine (Westminster John Knox Press 2014), consists of an historical analysis of theology’s preoccupation with doctrine over the last century and a constructive proposal for renewing doctrinal production as a creative enterprise.

Her research has been supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Humboldt Foundation. During 2012-2013 she was the Marie Curie EURIAS (European Institutes of Advanced Study) Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies in Helsinki, Finland. During 2014-2105, she was a Research Fellow in the Philosophy and Theology of Humility Project, based at Saint Louis University.

Professor Helmer is Associate Master of Willard Residential College. She teaches undergraduate courses on key religious thinkers in western thought, the theology of love, religion and sports, and introduction to theology. Her graduate courses focus on the history of theology in relation to the study of religion. She welcomes applications to the Ph.D. program in Religious Studies, in the areas of her teaching and research.

Photo credit: Veikko Somerpuro

Selected Works


The Trinity and Martin Luther. Lexham Press, 2017

Theology and the End of Doctrine. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014

The Trinity and Martin Luther: A Study on the Relationship between Genre, Language and the Trinity in Luther’s Works (1523-1546). Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte/Abteilung Abendländische Religionsgeschichte 174. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1999.

Edited Volumes

Lutherrenaissance: Past and Present. Edited by Christine Helmer and Bo Kristian Holm. Forschungen zur Kirchen- and Dogmengeschichte 106. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.

LUTERO: Um teologo para tempos modernos. Edited by Christine Helmer. Translated by Geraldo Korndörfe. São Leopoldo: Sinodal, 2013.

The Global Luther: A Theologian for Modern Times. Edited by Christine Helmer. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009.

Transformations in Luther's Theology: Historical and Contemporary Reflections. Edited by Christine Helmer and Bo Kristian Holm. Arbeiten zur Kirchen- und Theologiegeschichte 32. Leipzig: EVA-Leipzig, 2011.

The Multivalence of Biblical Texts and Theological Meanings. Edited by Christine Helmer with Charlene T. Higbe. Symposium Series 37. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006.

Biblical Interpretation: History, Context, and Reality. Edited by Christine Helmer with Taylor G. Petrey. Symposium Series 26. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005.

Schleiermacher and Whitehead: Open Systems in Dialogue. Edited by Christine Helmer, in Cooperation with Marjorie Suchocki, John Quiring, and Katie Goetz. Theologische Bibliothek Töpelmann 125. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004.

One Scripture or Many? Canon from Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Perspectives. Edited by Christine Helmer and Christof Landmesser. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Truth: Interdisciplinary Dialogues in a Pluralist Age. Edited by Christine Helmer and Kristin De Troyer, with Katie Goetz. Studies in Philosophical Theology 22. Leuven: Peeters, 2003.

Schleiermachers Dialektik: Die Liebe zum Wissen in Philosophie und Theologie. Edited by Christine Helmer, Christiane Kranich, and Birgit Rehme-Iffert. Religion in Philosophy and Theology 6. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003.

Biblischer Text und theologische Theoriebildung. Edited by Christine Helmer, Stephen Chapman, and Christof Landmesser. Biblisch-theologische Studien 44. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2001.

Interviews, Web Audio/Video

Podcast: "Conversation about Theology and the End of Doctrine," with Tripp Fuller, posted by Homebrewed Christianity, Oct. 9, 2014.

Audio: "The Liberal Luther and Modern Theology," from Nov. 12, 2009, Faith in Public Lecture Series 2009-2010 at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (Canada).

Conference video: "Honest Truth and Liberal Love," from Feb. 23, 2008, The Global Luther: Considering the Contributions of Martin Luther Conference at Northwestern University.