History of the Faculty of Theology Part III

Between positive and liberal theology  in the 19th century

Since the late 19th century there was an increasing ecclesiastical and theological struggle within the faculty between positive and liberal theology. Liberal Protestantism and critical theology had their eminent representatives in the New Testament scholar Emil Schürer (1844-1910; active 1890-1894), the church historian Hans von Schubert (1859-1931; active 1892-1906), the practical theologian Otto Baumgarten (1858-1934; active 1894-1926), and the systematic theologian Hermann Mulert (1879-1950; active 1920-1935), the last editor of the periodical  “Die Christliche Welt” (“The Christian World”).

The side of positive theology was represented in particular by the Old Testament scholar August Klostermann (1837-1915; appointed to the new chair of Old Testament in 1868 against the proposal of the faculty), the New Testament scholar Ferdinand Mühlau (1839-1914; active 1894-1909), and the systematic theologian Erich Schaeder (1861-1936; active 1899-1918).

Hermann Mandel proposes the “theology of reality”

During the Weimar Republic the successor of the latter, Hermann Mandel (born 1882, active in the Faculty of Theology 1918-1935), proposed a “theology of reality” in the sense of a “German faith in God” and struggled for a strictly National Socialist orientation of the Faculty after the seizure of power by the National Socialists; he was transferred along with is chair to the Faculty of Philosophy against his will in 1935 following fierce arguments with his faculty colleagues.

During the time of National Socialism

At the beginning of the National Socialist regime the faculty comprised seven chairs and 149 students (winter semester 1933/34). In 1935/36 all professors with civil servant status of the Faculty were removed by the administration of state and university without exception through dismissal, transfer and appointment to other places; moreover two private lecturers had their venia legendi, ie their university teaching credentials, revoked.

Since 1936, after plans to dissolve the faculty that had shrunk to 38 students in the winter semester of 1936/37 had not come to pass, new appointments were made in a complicated and ambiguous manner and with a mainly National Socialist orientation. Owing to continuous attacks by the Nationalsozialistischer Dozentenbund (National Socialist Lecturers’ Association) of Kiel University, founded in 1938, the Faculty of Theology became a shadow of its former self. During the war years there were almost no students and almost no lectures; the faculty was run by deans from other faculties.

New appointments since 1945

The beginning after 1945 was characterised by an absence of change as well as by the appointment of new professors. Three professorships were still held by the former chair occupants: Heinz-Dietrich Wendland, committed to the Confessing Church, taught the New Testament from 1937 to 1955, church history was taught by Peter Meinhold from 1936 to 1975, systematic theology by Martin Redeker from 1936 to 1968. Two new appointments were made: The Old Testament chair was again held by Wilhelm Caspari, who had been forcibly dismissed earlier (1922-1936 and 1945-1947), practical theology was taught by Heinrich Rendtorff (1926-1930 and 1945-1956), whose chair had been reallocated to the Institute for Maritime Studies in 1941.