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200 Years as an Academic Institution

After the founding of the University by the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1818, the Protestant Theology Department came into being one year later in 1819. Founding members were, among others, Friedrich Lücke, Karl Heinrich Sack and Carl Immanuel Nitzsch. Through Nitzsch, the department became a prominent place for mediation theology in its early days. This systematic and practical theologian is furthermore known as the “rheinischer Kirchenvater” (Church Father of the Rhineland).


Particularly of note is the teaching position held by Karl Barth between the years of 1930 and 1935. During this time the department was the center of theological resistance against the ecclesiopolitical wave of the “German Christian.” Consequently, the department was the target of state despotism and suffered a demolition almost unparalleled in any other academic corporation in Germany. They lost most of their members including Karl Barth, Karl Ludwig Schmidt, Ernst Fuchs, Fritz Lieb, Ernst Wolf, Wilhelm Goeters, and Hans Emil Weber.

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