Kurt Rudolph

Kurt Rudolph ( born April 3, 1929 in Dresden ) is a German Gnosis and Manichäismusforscher.


Kurt Rudolph's upper school was interrupted by the Second World War. After that he first made until 1946 an apprenticeship as a carpenter, he even graduated from was laid in 1948. Then he began to study the history of religion, Protestant theology and Semitic Studies at the Ernst- Moritz- Arndt- University Greifswald, from 1950 at the University of Leipzig ( SMEs). While still a student Rudolph was 1952-1953 Assistant at the Religious History Department, after his theological state examination in 1953 he became a research assistant at the Institute of History of Religions Philosophy Faculty of SMEs. During this time he worked in parallel on two doctorates in theology and religious history. Since 1954, Rudolph was a lecturer in religious history. The theological doctorate in 1956 with a thesis on The Mandaeans I - The Mandäerproblem, in April 1957 followed the religion historic promotion, The Mandaeans II with the work - The cult built directly on the theological dissertation. Reviewers were Johannes Leipoldt and Walter Baetke. In 1960 he became a research assistant professor. In May 1961, the Habilitation followed in the history of religion and comparative religion with a thesis on theogony, cosmogony and anthropogony in the Mandaean writings. A literary-critical and traditio-historical study, reviewers were next Leipoldt and Siegfried Morenz Baetke and Ernst Werner.

In June 1961 Rudolph was a lecturer in the history of religion and comparative religion, in September Professor with tenure at the SMEs. In 1974 he became a full member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences. In 1984, he returned from a trip to the U.S. is no longer in the GDR, whereupon he quit and he was excluded from the Saxon Academy. Between 1984 and 1986, Rudolph taught as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Barbara. In Germany Rudolph in 1986 professor at the Philipps- University Marburg, until he retired in 1994. In 1991 he was again a corresponding member of the Saxon Academy. Since his retirement in 1994 Kurt Rudolph has received honorary doctorates in Aarhus and Leipzig, before he became in 1983 an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews.

During His ministry to the Religious Studies departments of the University of Leipzig, Chicago and Marburg, he has an international reputation as a connoisseur of Gnosticism and Manichaeism acquired '. In addition, Islam and methodological issues in the study of religion have him busy. Here it was his priority to establishment of an independent from theology Religion Research. Rudolph emphasized religious studies was obliged rational science and therefore a methodological atheism. Those in the German-speaking religious studies initially hard-fought thesis is now largely consensus.

Writings (selection )

  • The Mandaeans I - The Mandäerproblem Cambridge University Press 1960, DNB 454,219,946th
  • The Mandaeans II - The Cult Cambridge University Press 1961, DNB 454,219,954th
  • Theogony, cosmogony and anthropogony in the Mandaean writings Vandenhoeck 1965, ISBN 3-525-53182-6.
  • Gnosis - nature and history of late antique religion Leipzig 1977 ( 3rd ed Vandenhoeck 1990), ISBN 3-8252-1577-6.
  • Gnosis and Late Ancient Religions ( collected essays ), Brill 1997, ISBN 90-04-10625-1.