Theology, Modernity, and the German University (video)

Posted on December 28, 2015 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Tal Howard at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Howard argues that while the German university system has set the standard for higher education worldwide, it is not without its problematic tensions, notably the question of theology’s place in the modern university. His presentation focuses on this issue in its historical context and the response offered by the theologian and church historian, Adolf von Harnack, who was a crucial figure in determining the course of the academic study of theology and religion in Germany. For a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “Here, appearing at the moment of the theological faculty’s national, constitutional vindication, was a new, young voice who would reject many of the assumptions that had informed Harnack’s defense of the theological faculty. After hearing his former student speak at conference in Aarau, Switzerland, Harnack shuddered, noting that Barth’s theology seemed ‘scandalous’ and even ‘frighten[ing].’ While one might admire the intensity of Barth’s effort, Harnack confided to a friend, ‘what seems to be lost entirely is the link between theology and the university.'”

  • Video Information
  • Date Recorded:March 20, 2014
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
This video is published by the Project on Lived Theology (PLT). For any questions related to its use, please contact PLT ( Copy available for use subject to Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution required, Non-Commercial use, No Derivatives, 3.0, Unported.