Conclusion: Janus Gazing

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:
Conclusion: Janus Gazing

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The theological faculty’s passage into modernity has been characterized as ‘Janus-faced’ on a number of occasions. The expression has helped convey both the scholarly virtuosity attained by Protestant academic theology in the 19th century and also theology’s institutional diminution (and near eviction) in the context of the expanding and modernizing university system. Adolf von Harnack’s eloquent and successful apologia for the theological faculty in the Preussische Jahrbücher (1919) marked in many respects a culminating statement for 19th-century university theology: the theological faculty’s public, national vindication despite much criticism and amid dizzying social and political changes. It is argued that modern theological phenomena require both synchronic and diachronic contextualization, for the consideration of a remoter past helps bring into relief the shared assumptions and general tendencies of any given present.

Keywords: theological faculty; modernity; Adolf von Harnack

Chapter.  7313 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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