Adolf Adam (theologian)

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Adolf Adam (born March 19, 1912 in Dietesheim , † December 16, 2005 in Mainz-Finthen ) was a German prelate , pastoral theologian and liturgical scholar .


Adolf Adam studied theology in Mainz and received on January 6, 1937 in Mainz Cathedral by Bishop Albert Stohr , the ordination when the Church by the Nazi regime pursued. His first position as chaplain was in Mainz-Kostheim , followed by activities in Ober-Mörlen , Heppenheim (Bergstrasse) and Lorsch during the Second World War . Kaplan Adam was interrogated several times because of his youth work and statements critical of the regime. In 1941 he was taken into " protective custody " for three weeks . From the transfer from the Giessen prison to the Dachau concentration camp , Adam was saved by chaplain Josef Gremm from Viernheim , imprisoned in Darmstadt, who burned his files at high personal risk.

After the end of the war, he initially worked for 14 years as a religion teacher at the Schlossgymnasium in Mainz. As a part-time job, Adam volunteered as a prison chaplain , city youth pastor, diocesan chaplain in the Federation of New Germany and as a seminar leader for candidate teachers.

In 1956 he was with the history of dogma work "The Sacrament of Confirmation by Thomas Aquinas " at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz doctorate . In 1959 Adam completed his habilitation at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn with the thesis "Confirmation and Pastoral Care: Pastoral Theology and Religious Pedagogical Studies on the Sacrament of Confirmation".

From 1960 to 1977 Adolf Adam was professor and full professor for practical theology with the subjects liturgical science and sermon theory ( homiletics ), from 1963 to 1965 also dean, at the Catholic Faculty of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. From 1967 to 1969 he was rector of the University of Mainz.

Adolf Adam has published numerous publications, in particular “Sense and History of the Liturgy” and “Outline of the Liturgy” are among the standard works of modern Catholic priestly training.

In 1985 Adolf Adam was awarded the title of Papal Honorary Prelate for his services . In 1990 he was awarded the Ring of Honor by the German Liturgical Institute.

Focus of his work

Above all, Adolf Adam endeavored to develop and communicate the Christian worship service scientifically; his writings, which made the renewed liturgy accessible after the Second Vatican Council , reached a wide readership and were translated into several languages.

In the last few years of his life in particular, he campaigned for two special causes: for a fixed date for Easter and for the introduction of a festival for the preservation of creation.

Publications (selection)

  • The trade fair in a new shape , 1973
  • Meaning and form of the sacraments , 1975
  • (with Rupert Berger ), Pastoralliturgisches Handlexikon , Herder-Verlag, Freiburg, Basel, Vienna 1980, ISBN 978-3-451-18972-2 .
  • Floor plan of the liturgy , 1985
  • Ethics of Hunting , 1995
  • Beloved creation. Gratitude and Responsibility , 1996


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