Welcome to the Luther Reading Challenge!

More than 2200 people have already joined our community to read and discuss Luther's theology in preparation for the Reformation jubilee in October 2017.

Massive Open Online Course on Luther

Written by Sarah Wilson on 9/29/16, 2:09 PM.

Prof. Christine Helmer, an eminent Luther scholar at Northwestern University, is offering a MOOC entitled "Luther and the West." It's a free online course open to anyone who has an internet connection! There are 36 lectures in total discussing the history of ideas of Luther's that have been hugely influential in the modern West and taken to the rest of the world. Luther is recognized today as the originator of many of the most significant ideas that continue to affect and shape who we as modern people are and how we see the world and ourselves, for better and for worse. In the first section, we will explore why Luther thought the Bible was the most important volume for everyone to have and read. Included here will be a careful consideration of Luther's anti-Judaism, which contributed to Western antisemitism and some of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century. In the second section, we will talk about the idea of freedom and how Luther's understanding of freedom in Christ affected the way modern thinkers understood what it means to be human in community. Important in this section is the consequential contradiction between freedom and slavery in Western thought and their co-existence in Western societies. The third section will be all about the many complicated relations between religion and politics.

Join the course by visiting: https://www.coursera.org/learn/luther-and-the-west

More news

500 Years

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on October 31, 2017, Martin Luther is going to be a hot topic of conversation and debate among Lutherans, other Christians, and the media. Will the conversation shed more heat than light? Or it will be an occasion to reappropriate a powerful witness to the Christian faith?


The reading part is just the beginning. By registering for a free account, readers can participate in online discussions. Luther’s writings will give rise to a broad conversation about what they meant then, and what they mean for us now. And the scope will be truly global: while all the texts will be offered in English, international partners will also be making parts of Luther available in Hungarian, Chinese, and Portuguese, to name a few.

Behind the scenes

The Luther Reading Challenge is a project of the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France, an affiliate of the Lutheran World Federation that has been devoted to Lutheran churches’ ecumenical commitments since 1965. The Challenge is a direct outgrowth of the inspiring experience of Institute staff in teaching an annual two-week course called Studying Luther in Wittenberg, which has gathered Lutheran pastors from around the world for intensive study since 2009, and the Theological Reading Challenge sponsored by the journal Lutheran Forum.