Additions in Saarinen’s bibliography

Risto Saarinen has gathered new items of Finnish Luther research and comments on it. The list supplements his larger bibliography with articles and monographs published after 2008. See Saarinen’s blog site for the list:

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Luther’s theology 2013

Annual lectures in Helsinki on Luther’s theology will give an overview of the Reformator’s theology. A special emphasis is laid on such topics as theology and philosophy, theology of love and doctrine of Trinity. Results of the recent Finnish scholarship on Luther’s theology are discussed in detail. No previous knowledge on Luther’s theology is required, but we strongly recommend that the student is familiar with the basic facts of Luther’s life before attending the lectures, since Luther’s life is not discussed in detail during the lectures. There are many biographies available on Luther, such as Martin E. Marty, Martin Luther (Viking Penguin, 2004) or Martin Brecht, Martin Luther, 3 vols. (Fortress, 1985-93).

The lectures will take place on Tuesdays, during the Spring term 2013 from January 12th to May 7th. Lecturer is Dr. Pekka Kärkkäinen, University Lecturer in Ecumenical Theology.

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Lopes Pereira on Augustine and Luther

Jairzinho Lopes Pereira just defended successfully his doctoral thesis “Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther on Original Sin and Justification of the Sinner” in the University of Helsinki. For more information see:

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Koivisto on the inevitability of evil in Luther

On 18 May Jussi Koivisto defended his doctoral thesis “Is Evil Inevitable for Creation and Human Life? Studies on Martin Luther´s Biblical Interpretation” in the University of Helsinki. The dissertation examines Luther’s idea of evil in select cases of his Biblical interpretation. Main conclusions include:

Luther considered evil in its various forms as an inevitable part of human life and the Creation. Luther avoided giving the impression that God was the causal, ontological or active origin of evil. However, Luther thought that God had permitted evil to slither into the world. The active origin of evil in the fall of angels and the first human was the Devil. However, after these two falls, God has been involved more actively in evil: He uses and is even present in evil so that He can execute His good plans for the salvation of humankind and for His own glory.

The dissertation includes three articles published or soon to be published in English: “The common future of Luther and Biblical Studies” Sixteenth Century Journal 40:1 (2009); “Martin Luther’s Conception of fascinare (Gal. 3:1)” Biblical Interpretation 19:5-6 (2011); “Martin Luther’s Conception of the Serpent Possessed by the Devil (Gen. 3) and the Antecendent Tradition” in W. François & A. Hollander (eds.) ‘Wading Lambs and Swimming Elephants’: The Bible for the Laity and Theologian in the Medieval and Early Modern Era. Peeters (in print).

For more information, see:

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Hailer on the Finnish Luther-interpretation

Last volume on Lutherjahrbuch (vol. 77, 2010) contains an article by Martin Hailer entitled: “Rechtfertigung als Vergottung? Eine Auseinandersetzung mit der finnischen Luther-Deutung und ihrer systematisch-theologischen Adaptation”. The author discusses the Finnish position critically mostly on the basis of some Mannermaa’s works, supplementing them with Risto Saarinen’s more general accounts of the Finnish interpretation of Luther. For the sake of comparison, he also drafts some general ideas of Bonhoeffer’s view of participation in God. More importantly, after the discussion of “the Finns”, he critically discusses views of Robert Jenson, seen as an elaboration of the Finnish position.

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Anttila on Luther’s theology of music

Miikka Anttila has successfully defended a doctoral thesis entitled “The innocent pleasure. A study on Luther’s theology of music”. Professor Bo Holm from the University of Aarhus acted as the external examinator in the defense. In his dissertation, Anttila focused on considering Luther’s theology of music from the viewpoint of pleasure. This general theme allowed him to discuss several related topics, such as Luther’s notion of gift, his view of emotions and esthetical views, insofar as they were connected to the theology of music. For more information of the dissertation see:


For some preliminary results of Anttila’s study, see also his contribution to Engaging Luther

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Luther 2012 registration opened

Registration for the 12th International Congress for Luther Research (Helsinki, August 2012) has opened. All scholars working in the field of Reformation studies are welcome to participate. For more information, see the congress website.

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Luther congress 2012 website

Finnish Luther scholars will host the 12th international congress for Luther research in August 2012. The website of the congress is located here: The website contains information on plenary lectures, seminars and other activities. Registration for the congress opens in January 2011. A quotation from the homepage:

The overall theme of the congress is “Luther as Teacher and Reformer of the University”. The University of Helsinki, founded by Queen Christina of Sweden in 1640, is privileged to host the congress. Lectures and seminars will take place in the city center, on the campus surrounding the main building of the university.

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Engaging Luther

The Finns have published a joint volume on various aspects of Luther’s theology. It is entitled Engaging Luther – A (New) Theological Assessment and edited by Olli-Pekka Vainio. Quotation from the book description:

The volume consists of articles written by scholars affiliated with the project known as “the New Finnish Interpretation of Luther.” The topics include Luther’s theological anthropology, Trinity, christology, sacraments, faith, theology of the cross, the Virgin Mary, sexuality, music, and the spiritual reading of the Holy Scriptures.

More on the volume from the publisher’s website:

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Kärkkäinen on Luther as Sentences commentator

In a volume edited by Philipp Rosemann, there is a chapter on Luther as commentator of Peter Lombard’s Sentences written by myself, Pekka Kärkkäinen. For more information about the volume, see here.

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