September 11, 2015 John Witte, Jr. Named Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the North

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jason Steinhauer (202) 707-0213

Distinguished legal scholar John Witte, Jr. has arrived as a scholar-in-residence at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington appointed Witte the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the North. His tenure began on Sept.1.

At Emory University, Witte is the Robert W. Woodruff University Professor of Law; Alonzo L. McDonald Family Distinguished Professor; and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Witte is a specialist in legal history, marriage law and religious liberty. His publications include 220 articles, 15 journal symposia and 27 books.

Witte has formerly been in residence at the Kluge Center as the Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History and as a distinguished visiting scholar. He currently serves on the Library of Congress Scholars Council.

While at the Library of Congress for four months, Witte will research a series of volumes on “Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Reformation.” His work will be concentrated on the second through fourth volumes covering the Calvinist, Anglican, and Anabaptist Reformations of the 16th century.

Witte said, “The aim of the series is to give a systematic account of what happened to the ideas and institutions of law and politics as a consequence of the tremendous changes in theology and church life brought on by the Reformation, and what the enduring values of those changes are for church, state and society today.”

In November, Witte will deliver a public lecture at the Library of Congress on the topic of the Lutheran Reformation and its legal and political impact.

The Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the North is a distinguished senior research position, in residence at the Library, appointed by the Librarian of Congress. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to explore the history of the regions of North America, Europe, Russia and East Asia, using the immense foreign-language collections in the specialized reading rooms of the Library.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources, and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center visit

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s first-established federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at,


PR 15-160
ISSN 0731-3527