Paul Althaus

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Paul Althaus (4 February 1888 – 18 May 1966) was a German Lutheran theologian, son of Adolf Paul Johannes Althaus. He was born in Obershagen in the Province of Hanover, and he died in Erlangen. He held various pastorates from 1914 to 1925, when he was appointed associate professor of practical and systematic theology at the University of Göttingen, becoming full professor two years later. Althaus was moderately critical of Lutheran Orthodoxy and evangelical-leaning Neo-Lutheranism. He termed it a “mistake” to “defend the authenticity and infallibility of the Bible.”[1]

In 1933, when a professor of theology at the University of Erlangen, and probably the leading Luther authority of his day, he welcomed the emergence to power of Adolf Hitler - "Our Protestant churches have greeted the turning point of 1933 as a gift and miracle of God".[2]


  • Luther und das Deutschtum [Luther and Germanness], Leipzig 1917
  • Kirche und Volkstum. Der völkische Wille im Lichte des Evangeliums [Church and Nationality: the National Will in the Light of the Gospel], Gütersloh 1928
  • Grundriß der Ethik [Outline of Ethics], Erlangen 1931 (earlier edition: Leitsätze)
  • Die deutsche Stunde der Kirche [The Church's German Period], Göttingen 1934
  • Obrigkeit und Führertum. Wandlungen des evangelischen Staatsethos in Deutschland [Authority and Führerism: Changes in the Evangelical State Ethos in Germany], Gütersloh 1936
  • Der Christenglaube und das Sterben [Christian Faith and Death], Gütersloh 1941
  • Vom Sterben und vom Leben [On Death and Life], Gütersloh 1950 (earlier edition: Der Christenglaube und das Sterben)
  • Die Theologie Martin Luthers [The Theology of Martin Luther], Gütersloh 1962
  • Die Christliche Wahrheit. Lehrbuch der Dogmatik [Christian Truth: Textbook of Dogmatics], 8th edition, Gütersloh 1969
  • Die Ethik Martin Luthers [The Ethics of Martin Luther]


  1. ^ Detzler, Wayne A. The Changing Church in Europe. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979. p.17. Quotation from Manfred Kober, Theology in Germany, from the Reformation Review, April 1969.
  2. ^ Robert Ericksen, Complicity in the Holocaust, p.37

Further reading[edit]

  • Erickson, Robert, Theologians under Hitler. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.