Kolb Festschrift Announced: From Wittenberg to the World

This summer was the 13th International Congress of Luther Research. The Congress is generally held every 5 years, and continues be the venue for the world’s most prolific and influential Luther scholars. This year was particularly special because it coincided with the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses Against Indulgences in 1517. And so the conference was held in sleepy little Wittenberg. Morning worship was held each day in the Schlosskirche, where Luther would have posted his 95 theses. Sectionals and workgroups met in the Leucoria, the old university buildings. Presenters were put up in Lucas Cranach’s house. And on August 5, the final evening of the Congress, a beautiful banquet was held in the courtyard of Luther’s own house, the old Augustinian monastery.

It was at that final venue that, for me, the most special moment happened. The forthcoming Festschrift (honorary book) for Prof. Robert Kolb was announced to enthusiastic applause. Kolb has been a long time attendee and contributor to the Luther Congress and to Reformation research in general. It was the perfect venue. Almost two-thirds of the volume was comprised of essays by scholars in attendance and the majority were written by scholars who had participated in the past. The volume was long overdue. Usually, such volumes are presented on the occasion of a significant birthday, but since Bob has confused most people as to when his birthday actually occurs, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation seemed most fitting. (Bob’s birthday is June 17 and coincided with the old holiday, Tag der Deutschen Einheit—Day of German Union. But after the reunification of Germany the day was shifted to October 3. Bob thought he should just move his birthday along with it. It has been his own private joke for years!)

Former students, colleagues, and friends all had the opportunity to congratulate Bob and Pauline throughout the evening—he has been such an important person for all of us. An excerpt from the introduction is typical of the feelings of many:

“As his instruction and example has impacted another generation of students at the Seminary, Kolb has inspired those with whom he works here and abroad not only to strive for greater service to God but to find the joy of the Lord in daily living. Whether you know the scholar Dr. Kolb, Professor Kolb, Rev. Kolb, the author and editor Robert A. Kolb, or just Bob Kolb, it is the same amiable and honorable man whom we honor with this festschrift. We thank God for his life and work.“

The volume will be coming out by Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht in a few months from now, in early 2018, at which time it will be formally presented. A list of authors can be seen from the flyer images in this post. Congratulations Dr. Kolb!

 

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