Ronald K. Rittgers

Professor of the History of Christianity
0040C Langford
(919) 660-3460
  • B.A. (Wheaton College)
  • M.T.S. (Regent College, Vancouver, BC)
  • Ph.D. (Harvard University)

Prof. Rittgers joined the faculty of Duke Divinity School in the fall of 2021. He is interested in the theology and spirituality of the Age of Reform (ca. 1050-ca. 1650), and also studies the important intellectual, social, and cultural developments of this period in western Christianity. A scholar who writes for both the academy and the church, in addition to articles and essays, Professor Rittgers has authored a number of books: The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience, and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Germany (Harvard University Press, 2004); The Reformation of Suffering: Pastoral Theology and Lay Piety in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Hebrews and James (Intervarsity Press, 2017); a co-edited volume, Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe (Brill, 2019); and A Widower’s Lament: The “Pious Meditations” of Johann Christoph Oelhafen (Fortress, 2021). Prof. Rittgers is currently working on a book entitled The Enchanted Word of Early Protestantism.

A committed teacher, Professor Rittgers offers survey classes on the History of Christianity, as well as seminars on topics such as Martin Luther, Christian Theology in the Age of Reform, Christian Spirituality in the Age of Reform, The Catholic Reformation, Renaissance Christian Humanism, and Faith and History. He has held grants from the NEH and the Lilly Foundation, and has been a senior research fellow at the Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel, Germany) and the Leibniz Institute for European History (Mainz, Germany). Professor Rittgers has also served as the president of the American Society of Church History.

An Anglican theologian of the cross, Professor Rittgers holds the Duke Divinity School Chair in Lutheran Studies. He also has a secondary appointment in the Duke University History Department and is a faculty member of the Duke Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Professor Rittgers and his wife, Jana, both hail from Marion, Iowa. They have three adult sons and a daughter-in-law. Professor Rittgers enjoys hiking, cycling, soccer, spending time with his family, sharing meals with students, and watching Star Trek re-runs.