Many are accustomed to studying and celebrating the big personalities of the Protestant Reformation. Far too often those are only the male personalities, and we overlook contributions women made to the renewal of the church. This semester, Pitts Theology Library invited three leading Reformation scholars to uncover and share with us stories and voices of women from the Reformation. Our Kessler Conversations consider the roles women played in the period, their contributions to reform movements, the ways their stories have been covered over, and the lessons we can all learn from their work.
In the final Kessler Conversation of the spring, Dr. Stjerna will offer conclusions on women’s manifold participation as “confessors” in the 16th century European reforms. She will pay special attention to women’s engagement with Protestant theologies and interpretation of the Scriptures, making observations on women in different walks of life using their agency and theological voice, while negotiating their specific context and issues vis-a-vis gender and authority.
Rev. Dr. Kirsi Stjerna is the First Lutheran, Los Angeles/Southwest California Synod Professor of Lutheran History and Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (Berkeley) of California Lutheran University. She is also a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty at the Graduate Theological Union and a Docent at Helsinki University, Finland. She is the author of Lutheran Theology: A Grammar of Faith (Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2021) and Women and the Reformation (Wiley Blackwell, 2009), as well as the editor of Women Leaders of the Reformation: Profiles, Contexts, and Texts (forthcoming, Fortress Press/Media 1517, 2022).
Named after the world-renowned Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection held at Pitts Theology Library, Kessler Conversations (30-45 mins) offer opportunities for the general public to learn about the events in Europe the 16th century and to consider what they may tell us about the issues facing our communities. Conversations in a given academic semester focus on a single contemporary theme and trace it back to the Reformers. These conversations are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The theme of the Spring 2022 conversations is “Women of the Reformation: Reclaiming Forgotten Contributions to Church Renewal.”