Luther Seminary mourns the loss of James Kittelson, internationally noted Reformation scholar, professor of church history, and director of the Thrivent Reformation Research Program at Luther Seminary. He died Nov. 10 of liver cancer. Fittingly, the date is also the anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth.
Kittelson came to Luther Seminary in 1997 from Ohio State University, where he was professor of Reformation history for 26 years. He was one of the pre-eminent scholars of Reformation history. His book, Luther the Reformer: the Story of the Man and his Career (1986), has become one of the most widely-used textbooks about Luther. He also was senior editor with editor-in-chief Hans Hillebrand of the four volume The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation (1996).
Kittelson was president and a member of the board of the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference; he was a member of the executive committee of the Council of the American Society for Reformation Research and a member of the executive committee of the Society for Reformation Research; he served on the board of directors of the Center for Reformation Research. Kittelson is survived by his wife, Margaret Formo Kittelson; daughters Elizabeth Van Voorhis of Las Vegas and Amy Kittelstrom of Boston, and two grandchildren.