Weijenborg Reinhold ,
Recensione: ERICH KLEINEIDAM, Universitas Studii Erffordensis. Vberblick iiber die Geschichte der Universitdt Erfurt. Teil III: Die Zeit der Reformation und Gegenreformation 1521-1632,
Antonianum, 56/1 (1981) p. 236-238
The Author, one of the founders and the first director of the only seminary for priests in the German Democratic Republic, published in 1964 and 1969 the two first parts of the present work, in which he treated the history of the University of Erfurt first from 1392 till 1460, then from 1460 till 1521. We reviewed the two parts in this periodical, vol. XL, 1971, p. 173-175, declaring them absolutely fundamental for the study of this University, where, among others, Luther absolved his philosophical curriculum and begun his theological one. Now we hail the third part, in which the now 76 years old Author presents first (p. 1-136) the general history of the Erfurt University from 1521 till 1632, then the special history of its fundamental institutions (chancellor, vice-chancellor, conservator, patron), of its organs (rector, secret council, students), of its four faculties (theology, law, medicine, philosophy), and of its colleges and libraries for the same period. The volume is enriched by a very useful bibliography of sources and literature (p. XI-XX) and by three registers covering fairly the matters, the persons and places mentioned (p. 301-313).
The merits of the Author for having written also this part of his unique Survey of the History of the University of Eurfurt are the greater, as he had here to write «the history of a descent» (p. V). In fact he describes patiently in detail how this University, which had maintained till 1520 its Catholic and cosmopolitic character and matriculated every year hundreds of new students, became slowly because of the growing Lutheran sympathies of the population of Eurfurt, always more an ailing institution, which from 1521 till 1631 received scarcely an average of 80 new-comers and could preserve its Catholic character only by the often heroic andurance of its authorities and professors, but was forcibly made Lutheran, after the Swedish King Gustave Adolph on 2 October 1631 had entered the city.
The Author shows a great respect for the Evangelical party, which conquered the Catholic University of Erfurt. He blames even Dr. John Weidemann, Dean of St. Mary's in Erfurt, for arguing only from a canonistic stand-point against Luther, because he exhorted his flock to recognize the Pope as successor of Peter and therefore warrant of the unity of the Church (p. 11-12). But it seems to us that Weidemann was meeting the situation in the right way, as his speaking on the Papal primacy was not only a canonistic exercice, but a profoundly theological activity. If Weidemann had no success, the fault was not with his argument, but with that part of his people, which, fascinated by Luther, was not anymore open to serious theological and pastoral argumentation. Kleineidam shows a personal sympathy not only for certain Catholics, as are John Femel, Conrad Klinge O.F.M., Nicolaus Elgard, John Bettin-gen S.J., Caspar Henry Marx, Urban Heun and others, but also for certain Lutherans, for example for the generous poet Helius Eobanus Hessus, the theologizing physician John Copp, King Gustave Adolph, the Ramusian philosopher Henning Rennemann and the anticipating metaphysician Liborius Capsius. The lists, compiled by Kleineidam, of all the doctors, who were promoted or received into the four faculties of the University of Eurfurt between 1521 and 1632, are of particular interest and peerless.
While we for these reasons recommend the present volume highly to any student of the Reformation and Counterreformation periods, we wish cordially to the venerable Author to find the force to pursue his survey till the year 1816, when the University of Erfurt, which in 1648 had been replaced under the authority of the Archbishop of Mayence, its territorial lord and its chancellor, was suppressed by the Prussian government. Certainly, when the actual Faculty of Medicine of Erfurt once will grow out into the auspicated new University, the work of Kleineidam will result to have contributed much to this happy event.