Theology, <i>Wissenschaft</i>, and the Founding of the University of Berlin

Thomas Albert Howard

in Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780199266852
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604188 | DOI:
Theology, Wissenschaft, and the Founding of the University of Berlin

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This chapter focuses on the establishment of the University of Berlin (1810), its early years of operation, and this institution’s implications for the future of theological instruction and scholarship. One feature that distinguishes Berlin’s founding from those of older universities was the energetic outpouring of theoretical treatises on higher education that preceded the actual event. Together, these writings provide a remarkable window onto a variety of intellectual trends and cultural realities of the time; they also bear witness to an acute sense of modernity, an idealist and post-revolutionary sense that ‘the human spirit’ possessed an entirely new range of individual and institutional possibilities. The analysis of these documents concentrates on the question of what role the theological faculty was to play in the new university. Should it be drastically reduced or even eliminated, as some suggested, or should it be given a new academic lease so long as it could demonstrate an ability to adapt to the post-1789 world order and the new scholarly demands of Wissenschaft?

Keywords: University of Berlin; theological faculty; Wissenschaft

Chapter.  37322 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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