Ron Rittgers: ‘You Have Torn Away a Piece of My Heart’: A Widower’s Lament from the Christian Past

Date(s) - June 27, 2022
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Regent College Chapel

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Regent’s Evening Public Lecture series is back for another summer! Join us in person or online to explore Scripture, theology, culture, and much more with Summer Programs faculty and other exciting speakers.


How should faithful Christians manage personal loss and suffering? How are we to respond when it seems that God has torn away a piece of our heart? This lecture will explore possible answers contained in a recently discovered lay Protestant prayer diary from the Christian past, the Pious Meditations on the Most Sorrowful Bereavement (1619). A work of haunting candour, considerable artistry, and searching faith, this remarkable source not only rare provides insight into the past, it also contains much wisdom for faithful Christian living in the present, especially when God seems hidden and darkness is one’s only companion (Ps 88)—an experience that, for many people, has been all too common of late.


Ronald K. Rittgers (B.A., Wheaton College; M.T.S., Regent College; Ph.D., Harvard University) is Professor of the History of Christianity at Duke Divinity School, where he also holds the Chair in Lutheran Studies. Ron is a Reformation scholar with a special interest in the history of theology and devotion. In addition to many articles and book chapters, he is the author of The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience, and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Germany (2004); The Reformation of Suffering: Pastoral Theology and Lay Piety in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany (2012); The Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Hebrews and James (2017); and A Widower’s Lament: The Pious Meditations of Johann Christoph Oelhafen (2021). He is also a co-editor of the volume Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe (2019). Ron has served as the President of the American Society of Church History.

Dr. Rittgers is teaching Martin Luther: The First Protestant Mystic? from June 27 to July 1 as part of Regent’s 2022 Summer Programs.


Regent intends to offer this lecture as a live event in the College’s chapel. Under current provincial policies, this event will not require attendees to show proof of vaccination. Please be aware, however, that Regent’s event protocols will follow the guidelines in place on the event date.

This lecture will also be streamed live online, and we look forward to being joined by friends from around the world. A recording will be available for a limited time after the event.

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