Fortress Press

The Augsburg Confession: With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide

The Augsburg Confession

With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide

Robert Kolb (Author), Timothy J. Wengert (Author), Eric W. Gritsch (Translator)


Available August 6, 2024

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The Augsburg Confession is a unique document in the history of the Christian church, containing both a succinct summary of the heart of Christian teaching and a defense of the changes in practice introduced by Martin Luther and the Wittenberg reformers. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert invite readers on an accessible journey into the heart of this foundational confession--as well as the minds of primary author Philip Melanchthon and the other reformers at the heart of the emerging Lutheran movement.

Kolb and Wengert use the version of the Augsburg Confession translated by Eric W. Gritsch for the 2000 Book of Concord, but also offer readers fresh insight into the history and evolution of this document by including cross-references to the editio princeps of 1531, the first official published edition of the confession. In addition to thorough introductions to the document and to each article, readers will benefit from extensive footnotes, extensive marginal comments, and appendices including important variations from the editio princeps, topics for discussion tailored to each article, and suggestions for further reading.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506494104
  • eBook ISBN 9781506494111
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date August 6, 2024


This edition of the Augsburg Confession is an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to know more about the historical background and foundational teachings of the Lutheran Church. Kolb and Wengert do a superb job of helping modern readers understand this key document from the Reformation era and highlighting its relevance for today. Suitable for either group discussion or individual study, this edition is an outstanding resource for pastors, congregation members, students, and all who want to know more about Lutheranism.

Amy Nelson Burnett, Paula and D. B. Varner University Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

As the quincentennial of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession draws near, Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert have collaborated to provide an invaluable resource for our reflection. With intimacy of insight drawn from decades-long interaction with the Reformers and their Reformation, the authors guide us via lively narrative through the controverted theological issues addressed in the Confession. There is a compelling context from which the text of the Augustana emerges. This study also makes clear that the same five-hundred-year-old text, rooted in the central article of justification by faith still pulses with fresh application for readers in the context of our own time and place.

Patrick T. Ferry, president emeritus, Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor

The Augsburg Confession: With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide is a timely and excellent pedagogical resource for congregations. As we recall and celebrate the five-hundredth anniversaries of the germinal events and documents of our Lutheran tradition, this book illuminates the complex political, religious, and theological circumstances surrounding the Reformation and this particular document. Kolb and Wengert also remind us of its uses as a memorial of the act of confessing, as our normative document and confession of faith, and as a clear summary of what we believe. Especially useful, in addition to the historical, political, and theological frameworks provided, are the marginal notes and the appendixes.

The Rev. Dr. Francisco Javier Goitía Padilla, director for Formation for Leadership, Church Community and Leadership, ELCA

Basic, clear, and handy--this marvelous book introduces its readers to the fundamentals of Lutheran belief. Accompanying the established translation are helpful annotations, written by two of the foremost experts in the field. This volume belongs in the hands of church members who seek an explanation of what their faith is based on. They will find it here.

Volker Leppin, Yale Divinity School

Kolb and Wengert's new study edition of the Augsburg Confession will help readers rediscover this classic document. Their extensive introduction to the Confession, the introduction and marginal notes which accompany each article, and the wonderful appendixes all make this a rich resource for individual or group study and reflection.

Rev. Dr. Meggan H. Manlove, bishop of the Northwest Intermountain Synod, ELCA

Once again, Kolb and Wengert have given a marvelous gift to the church. This edition of the Augsburg Confession provides everything the student of this text--whether at a Sunday morning adult class or a university seminar--could ask for. With clear introductions to each article and detailed commentary at every turn, this is truly a text in which (to paraphrase Gregory the Great) lambs can wade and elephants can swim.

Ian A. McFarland, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Christian Theology, Emory University; Quondam Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

The appearance of this volume could not be more timely, given that the five-hundredth anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession is on the near horizon (June 25, 2030). Kolb and Wengert provide an annotated text of the Confession that clarifies points and unfolds meaning for both serious and more casual students. Ideal for both personal and corporate study, this book could be profitably used in pastors' gatherings, congregational study sessions, and seminary and university courses. This will be an invaluable resource for the church as it prepares for the quincentenary of the public delivery of Lutheranism's Grundbekenntnis.

Lawrence R. Rast Jr., president, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Kolb and Wengert's book is a welcome addition to the body of commentaries on the Augsburg Confession, in the tradition of those written by George Forell, Leif Grane, and Wilhelm Maurer, among others. It provides a needed update to the historical and theological reading of this central confessional document of the Lutheran witness and identity. With introductions and notes to each of the Confession's articles, relying on a clear and accurate translation of the text, we have access to reliable accounts, explanations, and insights that are better than any I have seen in a long time. This book promises to become a standard reference for students, pastors, and lay people alike.

Nelson Rivera, professor of theology and ethics, United Lutheran Seminary

Kolb and Wengert ground the Augsburg Confession in its social context, framing it, as we are all framed, by the larger story of Jesus, each called to confess him to our contemporaries. They offer the Confession as a compass and a catalyst for the ongoing conversation about what it means to be Christian.

Michael Zeigler, speaker of the The Lutheran Hour