Otto Bardenhewer

Bertram Otto Bardenhewer ( born March 16, 1851 in Gladbach, today Mönchengladbach, † March 23, 1935 in Munich) was a German and Roman Catholic theologian. Scientific importance was Bardenhewer particularly for his work in the field of patristics.


Otto Bardenhewer was born on 16 March 1851 in Gladbach, the son of a lawyer. After attending elementary school and a Progymnasium in his birthplace, he attended the boarding school of the Vincentians in Neuss. His education he completed in 1868 with the Abitur. Then Bardenhewer studied at the University of Bonn eleven semester Catholic theology. Already in the 9th semester he could with a thesis on Hermes Trismegistus, a Muslim author from the 11th/12th. Century, acquire the philosophical doctorate. After visiting the seminary, he was ordained in Cologne on 13 March 1875 priests. Because of the marked by the Kulturkampf university policy framework initially were several attempts Bardenhewers, a full professorship at the University of Münster, which at that time only had the status of a " Philosophical and Theological Academy " to get unsuccessful. In 1876 Bardenhewer acquired with a dissertation on the Daniel commentary of Hippolytus at the University of Würzburg a second doctorate ( Doctor of Divinity ). As of January 1879, he worked for nine semester as a lecturer for Old Testament exegesis at the University of Munich. For the summer semester 1884 Bardenhewer "Old Testament " at the University of Münster was a professor for the subject appointed. Two years later, he received a professorship at the University of Munich, where he received a full professorship for " Biblical Hermeneutics and New Testament Introduction and Exegesis ." In this capacity he worked until his retirement at the end of the winter semester 1923/24, at the age of 73 years. Bardenhewer died on 23 March 1935 in Munich.

In his Würzburg studies Bardenhewer was an active member of the Catholic Student Association K.St.V. Walhalla Würzburg in CT, and later he was in Munich nor honor Philistines Munich KV connections K.St.V. Ottonia Munich, Saxonia, Southmarch and Alemannia.

Scientific achievements

Although Bardenhewer during his scientific career always worked as an exegete, also published work in the field of Mariology, the still existing scientific importance Bardenhewers based solely on his work in the field of patristics. In 1894 the publishing house Herder in Freiburg im Breisgau be single-volume textbook " Patristic ". The 1901 and 1910 neuaufgelegte work appeared also in French, Italian, English and Spanish translation. Already in the preface to the first edition of his " Patristic " Bardenhewer had announced its intention to present a detailed description of the early church literature. This project began Bardenhewer by 1902-1931 in five volumes published "History of the Early Church literature " into action. Both the " patristics " as well as his five -volume opus treat in chronological order life, writings and teachings of the Church Fathers combined with a breakdown by language and region. In particular, the "History of the Early Church literature " is because of their enormous wealth of detail that remained unequaled from now, still of considerable scientific value. As late as 2007, a reprint of the second edition of the five -volume work has been reprinted in the Scientific Book Company in Darmstadt. Bardenhewer was also known through the publication of the second series of the Library of the Fathers of the Church, one published in 83 volumes, 1911-1939 book series, in which the texts of the Church Fathers were edited in German language. As an author Bardenhewer contributed to this book series in the general introduction to the works of Ephrem the Syrian ( Volume 37, page I - XLVII) and a translation of selected writings of Cyril of Alexandria. Bardenhewers theological attitude was characterized by a strict intransigence, which organized solely according to the specifications of the Roman Catholic church hierarchy. So he knew his work and the art of Patrology explicitly only as a history of the early church and not such as his famous Protestant colleague Adolf von Harnack as its representation of early Christian literature. Bardenhewer saw the Church Fathers as an "interpreter and advocate of a teaching tradition, which can be absolutely attributed only to the apostles." For this attitude that any reinterpretation of the traditional scriptures eluded, Bardenhewer was often criticized by Harnack and other representatives of the "liberal theology."

Bardenhewers role in the " affair Schnitzer "

Bardenhewers extremely church -abiding attitude - he had 1910 voluntarily made ​​the so-called anti-modernist oath, although he had not been committed as a high school teacher whose passing - also forms the background for Bardenhewers role in the affair of the Munich theologian Joseph Schnitzer, the former briefly reaching wide attention over theological experts but also gained. Schnitzer, Professor of History of Economic Thought, had published a journal article on February 1, 1908 the turned against the papal encyclical Pascendi, for which he was suspended early as February 6, 1908 because of " dogmatic errors". Bardenhewer, who was at that time Dean of the Faculty of Theology had, for the Archbishop of Munich Franz Joseph Stein created by a confidential report in which he explained the positions carver heretical. In his lecture on 10 February 1908, he repeated this view in front of students. After Bardenhewers statements were reproduced in the daily press, it came to the university and beyond to a considerable uproar. Among other things, students tried to disrupt the lectures Bardenhewers. On February 20, 1908, the Senate of the University Bardenhewer issued a formal reprimand for his polemic against a faculty colleagues. Bardenhewer rejected the criticism of his behavior throughout his life.


  • Patrology. Freiburg im Breisgau in 1894 (2nd edition, 1901, 3rd edition, 1910) ( textbook )
  • History of the early church literature. Volume 1, Freiburg / Br. 1902 ( 2nd edition 1913); Volume 2, 1903 (2nd edition, 1914); Volume 3, 1912 (2nd edition, 1923); Volume 4, 1924 ( 2nd edition, 1924); Volume 5, 1932. ( Reissued in the Scientific Book Company, Darmstadt 2007). ISBN 978-3-534-20191-4. ( Review in sehepunkte ', edition May 15, 2009 )
  • Library of the Fathers of the Church. Kempten / Munich 1911 et seq (83 volumes ) (ed. )
  • Of St. Hippolytus of Rome commentary on the Book of Daniel. A literärgeschichtlicher attempt. Diss Würzburg 1876
  • Annunciation - A Commentary on Luke 1, 26-38. Freiburg / Br. In 1905.