Information about faculty members and staff

The Rev. Dr. Kirsi I. Stjerna

The Rev. Dr. Kirsi I. Stjerna

Professor of Reformation Church History and Director of the Institute for Luther Studies
Phone: 717.339.1305


Kirsi Stjerna is a native of Finland and came to Gettysburg via Rome, Boston, Cape Cod, and Oak Park, Ill. She is a teacher and a writer and on the roster of both ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Before joining the Gettysburg faculty in 2000, she served as the Associate Director for Theological Education of the ELCA and as a free-lance translator. She has two school-age children and two grown stepsons.

As the director of Gettysburg Seminary's Institute for Luther Studies, Stjerna is in an ongoing conversations with an international network of Luther and Reformations scholars, and hosts esteemed scholars in the field at the annual Luther Colloquy to present from their current research. These public lectures are made available in Seminary Ridge Review ( for more information). The Luther Colloquy and the Institute for Luther Studies seek to sponsor ongoing interest and research in Luther and the Reformation studies and to nurture future scholars in the field ( Through the LC and ILS, the seminary is a Refo500 member since 2012 (

In addition to participating in the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference and the International Congress for Luther Studies (Helsinki 2012, seminar with Brooks Schramm “Martin Luther and the Old Testament”), she is an active member of the American Academy of Religion (since 1990) and currently  a co-chair (with Deanna Thompson) of the steering committee for the “Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions.”  Since 2013, she serves on the board for Dialogue: A Journal of Theology.

In anticipation of the 2017 Luther anniversary, Stjerna serves as one of the General Editors, with Hans Hillerbrand and Timothy Wengert, for the forthcoming Essential Luther (6 volumes, Fortress Press), working with several contributors in US and Europe. She is also a volume editor for a bi-lingual Luther’s works project in Europe (V&R).


2010-11 The Lilly Theological Scholars Collaborative Research Grant, Association of Theological Schools, USA and Canada, with Dr. Brooks Schramm.
2009 Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, Stipendiat, „Archives and Relations“, Summer.
2004-05 The Lilly Theological Scholars Grant, Association of Theological Schools, USA and Canada
1997 The Sachem Title VI Grant, Internationalizing the Curriculum, Ancient History, CCC  College.
1990-93 Chamberlain Herman Rosenberg Research Fellowship, University of Helsinki.
1990-92 Scholarship of Merit, School of Theology, Boston University.
1990-91  Finnish Science Academy Grant [Suomen Akatemia].
1990-91  Travel Scholarship, Research Center of the Church of Finland [Suomen Kirkon Tutkimuskeskus].
1990 Women's Science Foundation Grant [Naisten Tiedesäätiö].
1990 Culture Foundation Grant [Kulttuurirahasto].
1990, 1989 Research Scholarship, Finnish-Swedish Culture Funds [Suomalais-Ruotsalainen Kulttuurirahasto].

B.A., Lyseon Lukio College, Mikkeli, Finland, 1982
M.T.S., University of Helsinki, 1988 (ecumenical theology)
Ph.D. Boston University, 1994 (theological studies)

Courses: Courses: In addition to a Luther Seminar, Luther and the Reformations, Luther and the Lutheran Confessions, and Christian Thought and the Ecumenical Creeds, Stjerna teaches electives on Sacraments, Christian Mysticism and Spirituality, Women’s Voices in Christian History and Thought, The Theology of the Reformed Confessions. In addition to residential courses, she also teaches online (Lutheran Confessions) and leads travel seminars (Rome, Germany, with Rev. Dr. Brooks Schramm).


Recent and Projected Publications:
The Essential Luther. Six volumes. Gen. Eds. Hans Hillerbrand, Kirsi Stjerna, Timothy Wengert. Volume Editor, Vol 2: Word. Co-Volume Editor, with Euan Cameron, Vol 6: Luther’s Biblical Works. (Forthcoming, Fortress Press.)

Reading Christian Theology in the Protestant Tradition. Edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Melanie Webb. Stjerna: “Sixteenth Century Christiantity.” T&T Clark. (Forthcoming.)

Luther’s Works: American Edition. Edited by Christopher B. Brown. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Introductions and annotations to: Luther’s foreword to Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg’s Letter against the Constitution of Clerical celibacy (1520) (Volume 737.1) and Luther’s foreword to On the Clerical Marriage, of the Reverend Herr Licentiate Stephan Klingebeil (1528) (Volume 584.1) Concordia Press, 2012.


Martin Luther, the Bible, and the Jewish People, edited with Brooks Schramm. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.
Reformaation Naiset (revised translation of Women and the Reformation). Helsinki: Kirjapaja, 2011.
Women and the Reformation. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Translated into German and Korean.

No Greater Jewel: Thinking of Baptism with Luther. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2009.

Spirituality: Towards a 21st Century Lutheran Understanding. Edited by Kirsi Stjerna and Brooks Schramm. Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2004.

The Role of the Bishop, Changing Models for a Global Church. Edited by Maria Erling and Kirsi Stjerna. Minneapolis: Kirkhouse Publishers, 2002.

Encyclopedia contributions:

[2 entries] Biographical History of Women Biblical Interpreters. Ed. Marion Taylor. Grand Rapids: Baker Academics, 2012.
[4 entries] The Witnesses of Faith. Reformation Churches. Ed. Günther Gassmann. Roma: Citta Nuova, 2010.
[15 entries] The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History/Reformation. Ed. Carter Lindberg. Westminster John Knox, Fall 2008.

“Apology.” The Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Ed. Hans Hillerbrand. Routledge, 2004.

Festschrift contributions:

“Models of Interpretation: Psalm 51 in the Hands of Katharina Schütz Zell and Martin Luther.” In Oppi ja Maailmankuva. Professori Eeva Martikaisen 60-vuotisjuhlakirja. [Doctrine and Worldview. Festschrift for Professor Eeva Martikainen.] Ed. Tomi Karttunen. Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, 2009, 37-52.

“The Case of Women: New Perspectives, New Interests in Luther and Reformation Studies.” Lutheranism, Legacy and Future. Essays in the Honor of Eric W. Gristch on the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination. Ed. Scott Gustaffson. Infinity Publishing, 2012.

“Women and Theological Writing During the Reformation.” Journal of Lutheran Ethics, Spring 2012.


“Finnish Sleep-Preachers: An Example of Women’s Spiritual Power.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative And Emergent Religions 5/1 (2001) 102-120.
“Grief, Glory and Grace: Insights on Eve and Tamar in Luther’s Genesis Commentary.” Seminary Ridge Review 6/2 (Spring 2004) 19-35.
“Re-thinking Lutheran Spirituality.” The Sewanee Theological Journal (December 2002) 29-47.
“Spiritual Models of Medieval Mystics Today: Rethinking the Legacy of St. Birgitta of Sweden.” Studies in Spirituality 12 (2002) 126-140.
“The Unbearable Lightness of Teaching Luther and the Confessions.” Seminary Ridge Review (Spring 2002) 15-27.B


Mannermaa, Tuomo. Two Kinds of Love. Martin Luther’s Religious World. Epilogue by Juhani Forsberg. Fortress Press, 2010.
Mannermaa, Tuomo. Christ Present in Faith: Luther’s View of Justification. Fortress Press, 2005.
Nissinen, Martti. Homoeroticism in the Biblical World: A Historical Perspective. Fortress Press, 1998.
Birgit Klockars’ Works on Birgitta, from the Swedish originals: Birgitta och böckerna; Birgitta och hennes värld, with ed. Dr. Kari E. Borresen, Oslo/Rome. (Forthcoming)


Examples of book reviews:
Merrie Wiesner-Hanks,
Sherry Jordon, Lutheran Quarterly, Summer 2010 Issue, Volume XXIV, Number 2.
Mary Elizabeth Anderson
Rebecca Giselbrecht,
Cathy Hampton,
Mary Jane Haemig,
Martha Skeeters,

Other Links

Institute for Luther Studies