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Theology and the University in Nineteenth-Century Germany$
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Zachary Purvis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783381.001.0001

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Institutions and Reforms

Institutions and Reforms

(p.38) 3 Institutions and Reforms
Theology and the University in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Zachary Purvis

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the eighteenth-century university in terms of its widespread decline and instances of innovation and renewal. Criticism, pedagogical reform, and curricular change are examined in German faculties of theology, especially at the Enlightenment reform institutions: Prussia’s University of Halle (founded in 1694) and Hanover’s University of Göttingen (1737). The idea of a scientific encyclopedia, a combination of the Aristotelian tradition of philosophy as paradigmatic knowledge with new designs for ordering that knowledge, became a fundamental feature of the increasingly modern university. Through the contributions of state ministers and theologians, the University of Göttingen pioneered in each faculty instruction in the ‘encyclopedia and methodology’ of the academic disciplines. These groundbreaking courses treated the unity and coherence of each subject in isolation and in connection to other fields, reflecting the university’s very nature. Johann Salomo Semler (1725–91), Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1693–1755), and others are discussed.

Keywords:   University of Halle, University of Göttingen, pedagogical reform, Enlightenment, J. S. Semler, J. L. Mosheim, state ministers

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