Friedrich Gogarten

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Friedrich Gogarten (January 13, 1887 – October 16, 1967) was a Lutheran theologian, co-founder of dialectical theology in Germany in the early 20th century.[1] He was born in Dortmund.

Career[edit]

Under the leadership of Karl Barth, Gogarten split from the prevailing liberal theology as represented by Albrecht Ritschl and others. He stood against the historicism and anthropocentrism of the Protestant theology of the 19th century by emphasising the absolute antithesis of God and man. This new dialectical theology was named after a phrase in Gogarten's magazine Between the Ages.[2]

Barth was excited by Gogarten, and in 1920 wrote to Eduard Thurneysen, "This is a dreadnought for us and against our adversaries. Who knows, someday he will teach us, he has quite the allure and the stuff one man which ... to be". Nonetheless a few years later a distance between Barth and Gogarten developed. Later Between the Ages ceased publication and Gogarten broke away from Barth. He also had differences with Rudolf Bultmann, who however resumed the relationship in 1940.[2]

After the Sports Palace demonstration on November 13, 1933 in Berlin he wrote articles in several magazines explaining the "Faith Movement of German Christians." Gogarten never joined the Nazi party.[2]

In 1927, Gogarten began teaching in Jena. His inaugural lecture was "Theological Tradition and Theological Work: Intellectual History or Theology?" This led to his appointment in 1931 as the successor of Erich Schaeder to the chair of Systematic Theology in Wroclaw, Poland. In the summer of 1935 he took over the reading circle of Karl Barth in Bonn. In the winter of the same year he moved to Göttingen where he succeeded Carl Stange as Professor of Systematic Theology and was appointed as university preacher. On February 25, 1955 he retired in Göttingen, where he died.[1]

Gogarten's general theme is "Man between God and the world," "The Church in the world" and the secularization as a result of the Christian revelation.[1]

Quotes[edit]

"This is the fate of our generation - that we stand between two eras. We never belonged to the period which ends today. Whether we will ever belong to the time to come, and if we are made to it by us could, whether it will come so soon? We are in the middle between them. In an empty room."[2]

Honors[edit]

  • Honorary doctorate from the Theological Faculty of the University of Giessen (1924)
  • Großes Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) (1957)
  • Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany) (1967)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1990). "Friedrich Gogarten". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 2. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 263–264. ISBN 3-88309-032-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kroeger, Matthias (1997). Friedrich Gogarten. Leben und Wirken in zeitgeschichtlicher Perspektive - mit zahlreichen Dokumenten und Materialien (in German). 1. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. ISBN 3-17-014979-2. 

Sources[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Kroeger, Matthias (1997). Friedrich Gogarten. Leben und Wirken in zeitgeschichtlicher Perspektive - mit zahlreichen Dokumenten und Materialien (in German). 1. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. ISBN 3-17-014979-2. 

Online[edit]