Associate Professor of Reformation and Luther Studies
Ph.D. - University of Chicago Divinity School (2014)
A.M. - University of Chicago Divinity School (2007)
B.A. - Kenyon College (2001)
Dr. Vincent Evener has taught at United Lutheran Seminary since 2015, after completing his doctorate at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is on sabbatical during calendar year 2022 and is conducting research at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. His current book project examines how traditions of devotion to the passion and associated meditative techniques were transformed and deployed in the sixteenth century by religious leaders seeking to shape Christian selves capable of navigating a divided Christendom. The themes highlighted in early modern passion books, and the practices commended to Christians, were constantly adapted to meet new contextual challenges, resulting in diverse but ever malleable forms of passion devotion in Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic contexts. Dr. Evener is especially interested in the depiction of human hearts (or sometimes souls) as vulnerable to divine and demonic influences, through relations toother human beings and the supernatural realm, and in how Christians were taught to open themselves to the right influences and close themselves to the wrong ones.
Previous research projects have examined how reformers protestant and radical reformers appealed to spiritual and visible suffering to buttress claims to truth and to teach practices of discernment to the laity; the Protestant and radical reception of medieval mysticism, especially teachings surrounding annihilation of the self and union with God; and Lutheran reformers’ use of anti-Jewish tropes in preaching and exegesis.
In his teaching, Dr. Evener seeks to explore with students the breadth and depth of the Lutheran tradition and the broader Christian tradition. The goal is to enable students to draw upon the tradition and apply its insights effectively as church leaders. In addition to introductory courses on the Lutheran Confessions and the history of Christianity, he teaches electives on themes such as mysticism and spirituality, marriage and family in Christian history, and the cross and suffering. He offers an upper-level elective entitled, “Readings in Luther.”
Dr. Evener is director of the seminary’s annual Luther Colloquy, and he represents the seminary on the Lower Susquehanna Synod candidacy committee. He presents regularly to congregations and other organizations on a broad range of topics surrounding Luther, the Reformation, and the history of Christianity. He is also book review editor for Dialog: A Journal of Theology. He is originally from Central Pennsylvania.
“Enemies of the Cross”: Suffering, Truth, and Mysticism in the Early Reformation (Oxford University Press, 2021)
Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe, co-editor with Ronald K. Rittgers (Brill,2018) [See: https://brill.com/view/title/54358]
Dr. Evener has published numerous articles and book chapters, including:
“‘Still today the members of Christ are damp with blood’: The Body in Sixteenth-Century Lutheran Passion Piety,” Sixteenth Century Journal, forthcoming
“The Lutheran Transformation of Passion Devotion, 1520-1560, and Lessons for Today,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology, early view [See: https://doi-org.ulsem.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/dial.12726]
“Spirit and Truth: Reckoning with the Crises of Covid-19 for the Church,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 59 no. 3 (Sept. 2020): 233-241
“‘Our Jews’: Anti-Judaism and the Formation of Reformation-era Christians,” Journal of Religion 99 no. 4 (Oct. 2019): 403-31 [See https://doi.org/10.1086/704797]
“From the Universal to the Particular: Luther and the Reformation after 500 Years,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 69, no. 2 (April 2018), 806-820
“The Future of Reformation Studies,” Church History and Religious Culture 97, nos.3-4 (Dec. 2017), 310-21
“The ‘Enemies of God’ in Luther’s Final Sermons: Jews, Papists, and the Problem of Blindness to Scripture,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 55, no. 3 (Sept. 2016),229-238
“Wittenberg’s Wandering Spirits: Discipline and the Dead in the Reformation,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 84, no. 3 (Sept. 2015): 531-555
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Gettysburg, PA 17325