Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today we drove a rented car from Munich to Göttingen.  I haven't driven a stick in 6 years so that was fun, but you can't hardly go wrong with these new ones.  Göttingen is where the Brothers Grimm taught, so the stories of Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty all come from this part of Germany.

For you history buffs, I learned some interesting things about Göttingen on a walking tour.  First, I had long forgotten that the kings of the house of Hanover in England (George I, George II, the notorious George III who lost the colonies... to the present Queen Elizabeth) were also kings of this region of Hannover here.  It was only because this region refused to have a woman, Queen Victoria, as their ruler when a male was available, that the relationship was severed in 1837 when she ascended to the throne of England.

The Grimm Brothers were two of a famous "Göttingen 7" who were removed from their professorships in that year when the new king cancelled a recent Constitution that had moved Hannover in a "liberal" direction by moving a good deal of power from the king to the Parliament.  Ernst August 1 took the power back and dissolved that Parliament.  Those 7 feisty professors who objected were dismissed, including the Grimm Brothers.

Göttingen and other university towns like Tübingen and Heidelberg were spared bombing in World War 2, so there are some buildings and houses here that go back to the 1200s.  There is little industry here but it is clearly a university town.

A number of famous professors have taught at Göttingen over the years:

  • J. D. Michaelis (1770s): pioneer in the study of Semitic languages
  • Ben Franklin--not a professor here, but visited here and had strong relations with Lichtenberg, who urged the university here to introduce experiments into their teaching of physics ;-)
  • Albrecht Ritschl (1800s): primary figure in Liberal theology that reduced Jesus to his love ethic, wrote a completely "mirror reading" book on the historical Jesus (Albert Schweitzer massively undermined it)
  • Julius Wellhausen (1800s): systematizer of JEDP as a theory for how the Pentateuch came together (no one would now accept his specifics, although sources behind the Pentateuch is the overwhelming consensus)
  • Walter Bauer (1800s): did important work on second century Christianity and how the word "orthodoxy" is inappropriate for this period (still consensus)
  • Karl Barth: professor here in the 1920s (the most significant theologian of the twentieth century, anywhere)
  • Gerhard von Rad: famous post war OT scholar (one of the most important OT scholars of twentieth century, wrote a two volume OT theology)
  • Ernst Käsemann: famous post war NT scholar (studied under Bultmann, started the second quest for the historical Jesus)
  • Hans Conzelmann: famous NT scholar 
  • Gunther Bornkamm: famous NT scholar
  • Joachim Jeremias: famous Jesus scholar who wrote Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus 


1 comment:

Rick said...

"Walter Bauer (1800s): did important work on second century Christianity and how the word "orthodoxy" is inappropriate for this period (still consensus)"

Did he differentiate between "orthodoxy" and "regula fidei"?

I think a definition of "orthodoxy" for that period can be debated, but an early creedal formula and/or regula fidei did seem to exist.