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A Handbook For Christian Life in the 21st Century Lutheranism The Theological Movement Martin Luther, God's Court Jester Dr. Eric W. Gritsch Obituary Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism Professor Heussi I thought You Were A Book History of Lutheranism 2nd ed.
Fortress Introduction to Lutheranism Born Againism The Boy From the Burgenland Toxic Spirituality The Wit and Wisdom of Martin Luther Thomas Muntzer A Tragedy of Errors
A memorial service and celebration was held for Dr. Eric W. Gritsch on March 2, 2013.
Pastor Holger Roggelin's Memorial Sermon For Dr. Gritsch --- Dr. Gritsch's Obituary

Rev Dr. Eric W. Gritsch Portrait 2007

Dr. Eric W. Gritsch

Rev Dr. Eric W. Gritsch served as Emeritus Professor  of Church History,  Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary where he also directed the Institute for Luther Studies.  A native of Austria, he experienced firsthand the reign of Adolf Hitler and the tyranny of Communism; he came to the United States in 1954.  He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He has taught at Wellesley College, the Catholic University of America, California Lutheran University, the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, and in the Dr. Eric W. Gritsch Chair at the Melanchthon Institute in Houston, TX. 

Dr. Gritsch participated for two decades in the North American Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue, and has served for a decade of the Board of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore.  The Rev. Eric W. Gritsch and his spouse Bonnie live in Baltimore, Maryland and was a member of the congregation of the Zion Church of Baltimore.


Christendumb A Tongue-in-Cheek History of Christianity 'CHRISTENDUMB' 'A Tongue-in-Cheek History of Christianity'

This book offers a swift trek through two millennia of Christendom told with wit, spiked by satire and a gallows humor. There are three chapters (symbolizing the Trinity), each encompassing seven centuries (symbolizing the seven days of creation), with four parts in each chapter (symbolizing the four Gospels). Chapter headings and subtitles are eye-catchers, such as "Edifice Complex" for the Middle Ages with its zeal for architectural and sacramental edification. Idiosyncratic features are highlighted, like the "pillar saints," monks who spent their lives on pillars in the desert; "castrated believers," who experienced the procedure as a refinement of penance; and competing popes, who succumbed to secular pleasures. Word plays, the wisdom of proverbs, and "dumb" Christian ways prevent readers from getting bored.


Wipf & Stock, 2013


Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism Book Cover
Wm.B Eerdmans., 2013

'MARTIN LUTHER'S ANTI-SEMITISM' 'Against His Better Judgement'

In his latest book Dr. Gritsch faces Martin Luther's anti-semitism head-on. This comprehensive text describes Luther's journey from initial attempts to proselytize Jews to an increasingly hostile position, which he apparently held to his death. Gritsch's unflinching analysis also describes the impact of Luther's egregious words on subsequent generations and places Luther within Europe's long history of anti-semitism. This book neither demonizes nor exonerates Luther, but shows the man's mistakes and their tragic consequences.


Professor Heussi? Book Cover
Wipf & Stock, 2009


Dr. Gritsch’s account of six decades of graduate education and the many memorable academics met and studied along a journey. Scholars such as Viktor Frankl in Vienna, Karl Barth in Basel, Carl Jung in Zurich, Reinhold Niebuhr in New York, Paul Tillich at Harvard, the ‘doctor father” Roland Bainton at Yale. The references are mixed with has-beens, upstarts, and other special professional characters.

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Fortress Press, 2009

This book offers Christianity a reality check, exposing four historical movements that have weakened and abused the core of the Christian tradition. Anti-Semitism, fundamentalism, triumphalism, and moralism represent wayward views on the relationships between Christians and Jews; between the authority of Scripture and tradition; between the church and worldly power; and between faith and morals. These toxic traditions represent the enduring temptation of Christian faith to be "like God" (Gen. 3:5).
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Infinity Publishing Company, 2006

The book offers a brief biography (Part I) and collected writings (Part II). The biography highlights unusual experiences through two decades before, during and after World War II in Europe: early years in Austria and Hungary; a stint as a teenage soldier in the German army; and formal education in Austria and Switzerland. A number of photographs illustrate the memoir. The collected writings consist of research papers, essays, editorials, sermons and a playlet, reflecting long-range scholarship, involvement in current issues, and specific interests.

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Fortress Press, 2006


At a deeper level Luther's wit and witticisms reflected his keen appreciation of human frailty and the unknowability of things divine. Ultimately humor in the face of mortality is a gauge of human freedom; a "lightening up" that makes of life a divine comedy.

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American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2006


What are the characteristics of a Christian in the twenty-first century? How are Christians called to witness in this confusing period of time? Dr. Gritsch addresses these issues in this concise guide to the challenges and goals of modern Christianity.

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Fortress Press, 2010


The story of how the Christian reforming and confessional movement sparked and developed by Martin Luther survived its first battles with religious and political authorities to become institutionalized in its religious practices and teachings. Gritsch then traces the emergence of genuine consensus at the end of the sixteenth century, followed by the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy, the great Pietist reaction, Lutheranism's growing diversification during the Industrial Revolution, its North American expansion, and its increasingly global and ecumenical ventures in the last century.

Book by Eric W. Gritsch cover Martin Luther Faith In Christ
Fortress Press 1996

This carefully selected anthology strives to supply hands-on knowledge of this man who would change history. It emphasizes Luther's work as theologian, exegete, and pastor. This book serves as an excellent introduction to Martin Luther's ecumenical spirituality. Selected writings are prefaced by an ample introduction, giving a biographical sketch of Luther and highlighting his hopes and goals for the Church. It also speaks to the difficulties that arose between Luther and the Catholic Church of his time, leading to schism.


Some Lutherans consider themselves heirs to a reform movement, others see themselves as members of a denomination or ecclesial institution, and still others are confounded by the tension and miss the tradition’s thrust. Part One is an overview of Lutheran history from The Book of Concord to the present, while Part Two is a distillation of its teachings as challenges to the reader. A helpful and accessible guide to Lutheranism’s history and central tenets, with numerous photos and illustrations.

Thomas Muntzer: A Tragedy Of Errors
Fortress Press,
2nd Edition, 2006


Rejected in the sixteenth century by both Protestants and Catholics, yet hailed by Marxist historians as a forerunner of the Marxist revolution, this volume tells Müntzer's story and offers a critical assessment in light of his extant works, with particular attention to the religious foundations of his revolutionary program.
"This is a volume that will be appreciated by the non-specialist as well as the specialist. It reads like a novel while ... carrying on a critical dialogue with the latest Müntzer scholarship." – Carter Lindberg, Boston University.

Link to Buy Eric's Book
Wipf & Stock,
2nd Edition 2009


Luther championed the truth of the Word of God as it judges and comforts sinners. In the face of papal and imperial power, and in the face of his own spiritual turmoil, his anfechtungen, the Wittenberg professor never lost his sense of the intimate connection between faith and humor, which are both anchored in him "Who sits in the heavens and laughs". (Psalm 2:4) Luther had great insights, and he made grave mistakes. But he always clung to the God who, in Jesus Christ, woos his estranged creatures back to child-like trust.

Born Againism
Fortress Press, 1982
2nd Edition, 2007


What are the origins of the born-again movement? How does the born-again experience relate to Baptism? Why do fundamentalists argue the literal inspiration of the Bible? Answers to these questions and many more emerge from the story of the born-again movement. Born Againism places the born-again phenomenon in historical perspective, beginning in the late eighteenth century as a movement propelled by speculations about the end time (millennialism). When millennialists merged with fundamentalists and charismatics, a powerful movement was born.

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Fortress Press, 1976

Authors Eric W. Gritsch (church historian) and Professor Robert W. Jenson (systematic theologian) have created a useful guide, giving a critical appraisal of the theological movement that took place within the Catholic Church. Together they describe Lutheranism as centered in the fundamental principle of the Reformation that "justification is by faith apart from works of law." The book focuses on the emergence of this chief article of faith as a proposal of dogma to the church ecumenical, its theological formulation, and its significance for the shaping of piety and doctrine. Each issue is treated in terms of both confessional history and systematic theology. Seminarians, pastors, teachers, and interested laypersons of all traditions gain ecumenical insights as well as pertinent information from this work.


Dr. Gritsch Wikipedia Page
A Wikipedia Page on Dr. Gritsch

 Rev. Dr. Gritsch was the author of Bibliography of the Continental Reformation (with Roland H. Bainton), Lutheranism (with Robert W. Jenson), Thomas Muntzer: A Tragedy of Errors, Martin- God's Court Jester: Luther in Retrospect, Born Againism, Fortress Introduction to Lutheranism, and A History of Lutheranism.  He had edited Volumes 39 & 41 of the American Edition of Luther's Works, selected Writings for Roman Catholics in Martin Luther- Faith in Christ and the Gospel and four volumes of Encounters with Luther (Lectures, Discussions and Sermons at the Institute for Luther Studies, Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary). He translated four books and had published numerous papers in professional journals.  

Eric Gritsch and Wife Bonnie Brobst
On October 13th, 2012, Dr. Gritsch was honored by his wife and friends with a celebration of the 50 years since his ordination.

Zion Church of Baltimore - Home Page

The Eric W. Gritsch Memorial Pages