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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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Preceptor of Modern Theology

Preceptor of Modern Theology

Hagenbach and the Mediating School

(p.191) 9 Preceptor of Modern Theology
Theology and the University in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Zachary Purvis

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers mediating theology (Vermittlungstheologie), which dominated university theology in the mid-nineteenth century. It explores the work of K. R. Hagenbach (1801–74), whose textbooks were among the most widely read theological books across Europe and North America, constituting an invaluable resource in the history of modern theology. Hagenbach developed Schleiermacher’s ideas, it is argued, and, through his standard and extraordinarily influential introduction to the study of theology—which went through twelve editions between 1833 and 1889 and was translated into multiple languages—propagated a long-standing form of mild or moderate theological historicism across multiple generations. Mediating theology thus found its theoretical and pedagogical footings as a centrist school inclined to harmonize differences among Protestant groups and resolve tensions between liberalism and orthodoxy, speculation and history. Hagenbach’s international and transatlantic success quelled speculative theology’s advance and represented the epitome of the modern project of theology as science after Schleiermacher.

Keywords:   K. R. Hagenbach, Friedrich Schleiermacher, mediating theology, Vermittlungstheologie, university theology, historicism, theological education, theological pedagogy, theology as science, Wissenschaft

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