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An Essay Competition sponsored by the Lutheran Historical Society and the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg

Read the Abdel Ross Wentz Biography

Competition Description

The Abdel Ross Wentz Prize is a $1,000 cash award to be presented annually to the author of the most outstanding essay or research paper dealing with American Lutheran history. All students enrolled in a master's degree program at a theological seminary, divinity school, or department of religious studies in North America are eligible to compete. If the quality and number of submissions warrant, there may be a second or third prize awarded.


To qualify for this competition, papers either may combine original research with interpretive analysis of any aspect of American Lutheran history, or provide an interpretive critique of published research or narrative history in the field. Congregational or other institutional studies will meet the requirement if they illumine broader trends within American Lutheranism. Essays will be judged strictly on scholarly merit.

The Essay and Its Deadline

Deadline for submitting the manuscript is June 1. The essay should be of normal article length, i.e., about 15 to 25 pages, double spaced, typed. There shall be two copies submitted with end notes rather than footnotes and with identification of the author only on an accompanying sheet. Send the manuscript to:
Abdel Ross Wentz Prize
Lutheran Theological Seminary
61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Judging the Essays

Lutheran Historical Society maintains a panel of judges, all of whom are recognized scholars in the field of American Lutheran history. The winner will be announced in September and receive the cash award along with a certificate of achievement. The Society may withhold the prize in any year in which the judges deem no submitted essay worthy of the award.

Previous Year's Winners

The winning essays in previous years have been:
"Plain Speech: E. E. Ryder and the Merchants of Death," by Christian Scharen Batalden, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.
"From the Lutheran Hymnal to Lutheran Worship: a Paradigm of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod," by John M. Fuchs, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
"The Transition in American Lutheran Theology: Verilius Ferm as a Paradigm of change," by Bruce K. Lucus, Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne.
"The Reverend Jehu Jones (1786-1852): first African American Lutheran Minister," by Earl K. Johnson, Jr., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
The award is supported by endowment funds at the Gettysburg Seminary given for this purpose. A committee of the Lutheran Historical Society administers the program (address: 61 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, PA 17325). The purpose of the Abdel Ross Wentz Prize is to foster and to encourage research and scholarly production in the field of American Lutheran history.

Calendar for Submission

Deadline annually for submission of an essay: June 1
Announcement of winner(s) in September

Contact Lutheran Historical Society
You can reach LHS by mail at:
61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or by Email