Theologie in Umbruchzeiten: Rostocker Theologie in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts ed. by Hermann Michael Niemann (review)

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2019

Journal Title

Lutheran Quarterly







November 12, 2019, marked the 600th anniversary of the founding of the University of Rostock, the first to have been established on the Baltic coast. Modeled after Erfurt, its faculty was mostly Roman Catholic until 1542. Two decades later, reforms were instituted that required all faculty to be Lutheran. David Chytraeus (1531–1600), a co-author of the Formula of Concord, who taught theology at Rostock for half a century, had the most significant early impact on its ethos and orthodox character. In his wake, the university became a bastion of mediating-conservative Lutheranism. Then followed more than a century of theological decline, when university faculty downplayed the importance of seeking doctrinal truth, and the institution became a mere territorial school for Mecklenburg. It only underwent a revival of sorts in the mid-nineteenth century, when such notables as Theodor Kliefoth, Otto Krabbe, Johannes von Hofmann, and Franz Delitzsch helped to restore its theological luster