The aim of this project is to consider Martin Luther and his influence from a philosophical perspective. While Luther has been widely studied by theologians and historians, he has been largely ignored by philosophers who work on the history of ideas (e.g. the authoritative and comprehensive Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy has no entry on Luther). This is in contrast to other key theological figures, such as Augustine and Aquinas (who have extensive entries in SEP). However, many of his central positions have significant philosophical implications and are often defended in terms that are not just theological. Moreover, because historians of philosophy have not generally engaged with Luther’s work, they have also overlooked Luther’s influence on philosophers who have come after him; but key northern European philosophers such as Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger were all educated in the broadly Lutheran tradition. We therefore propose to explore the way in which understanding this Lutheran background can shed new light on the thinking of these major philosophers.

However, it is of course impossible to do this without learning from the work of theologians and historians on Luther. The project will therefore be fully interdisciplinary, involving colleagues from a range of fields.



The first workshop will be held on Tuesday 1st May, 10.30-15.00 in King’s Manor, room K/159, Exhibition Square, University of York 

We will be discussing Luther’s ‘Disputation Against Scholastic Theology’ [1517].

The meeting will be run as a reading group, with general discussion rather than papers.

All are welcome to attend, and there is no registration fee, but we would be grateful if you can book so that we can keep an eye on numbers. See Eventbrite page here



The second workshop will be held at the University of Leeds on 13th June: venue and timing to be confirmed. This will focus on The Bondage of the Will [1525], and will also be run as a reading group.


There will be an international conference on the theme of ‘Luther as philosopher’, to be held in Sheffield: further details to follow.

For any inquiries about these events, please contact Robert Stern: 


Lead Academic from Lead University

Robert Stern – Philosophy,  University of Sheffield 

Lead Academics from other institutions

  • David Efird  – Philosophy,  University of York 
  • Joe Saunders – Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied Centre, University of Leeds 

Other members of staff associated with this project

  • Anthony Milton -History, University of  Sheffield
  • Michael Braddick – History, University of Sheffield
  • Cathy Shrank – English University of Sheffield
  • Hugh Pyper – Philosophy/SIIBS* , University of Sheffield)
  • Ryan Byerly – Philosophy/SIIBS* , University of Sheffield
  • Iona Hine  – English/SIIBS* , University of Sheffield
  • Tom Stoneham  – Philosophy,  University of York
  • Catherine Wilson –  Philosophy, University of York
  • Tim Stanton – Politics University of York
  • Mark Wynn – Religion, University of Leeds
  • Rachel Muers – Religion, University of  Leeds
  • Stefan Skrimshire  – Religion, University of  Leeds
  • Simon Hewitt – Philosophy, University of Leeds

* SIIBS is the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies