Christine Helmer (Marty Center Senior Fellow, 2021-2022) holds the Peter B. Ritzma Chair of Humanities at Northwestern University, where she is also Professor of German and Religious Studies. She is a theologian of Christianity and has published in different areas of theology: biblical theology and biblical reception; philosophical theology; historical theology; and constructive theology. Her recent monograph, How Luther Became the Reformer (Westminster John Knox Press 2019), is a study of early twentieth-century German theologians who, while investigating Martin Luther as a religious figure, created the modern study of religion. Dr. Helmer’s book, The Trinity and Martin Luther (2nd edition, Lexham Press 2017), and edited volume, The Medieval Luther (Mohr Siebeck 2020), thematize Luther’s medieval philosophical inheritances. Her book, Theology and the End of Doctrine (Westminster John Knox Press 2014) shows how the theological production of doctrine can move beyond its current epistemic impasse and become a creative and world-building endeavor. Dr. Helmer has also edited (and co-edited) over a dozen volumes in the various areas of her theological interests.
While a Senior Fellow at the Marty Center, Dr. Helmer will work on a monograph, Luther, Sex, and Priests, that takes up the question of Luther’s reformation ideas about sex and gender in ways that challenge canon law on topics related to marriage and clerical celibacy. The line of inquiry considered has to do with how Luther developed his theory of sexuality in relation to his understanding of priests at the intersection between theological anthropology, biblical interpretation, canon law, sacramental theology, and developing theologies of the priest and the church. Dr. Helmer is also working on a project in the area of constructive theology and another on women in higher education.