Academic circles sometimes include a giant who publishes relatively little despite the pleading of students and colleagues. Such a figure was Robert Bertram, whom longtime colleague Edward Schroeder calls, in his grateful foreword, “the most unpublished Lutheran theologian of the twentieth century.”
Bertram taught theology for 50 years in Lutheran institutions, including Valparaiso University, Concordia Seminary (St. Louis), Christ Seminary–Seminex and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He published dozens of articles and prepared even more public lectures. However, when he died in 2003, Bertram left only one “book,” a dissertation that engaged Karl Barth’s critique of Luther, and a handful of larger projects with which he never quit tinkering.