Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer

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Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer (born June 4, 1955 in Vienna ), until his marriage to Franz Stuhlhofer , is an Austrian natural science historian , church historian and Baptist theologian who lives in Vienna. He teaches free church religion and natural science history at schools and universities and publishes in historical, theological and philosophical journals and book series. As a professor at the Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule Wien / Krems , he is involved in the training and further education of free church teachers of religion.

House of the Viennese Baptist Congregation, of which Graf-Stuhlhofer is a member

The results of Graf-Stuhlhofer's research, which concerned different periods of history, were received in several areas. His statistical approach to the history of the Bible canon , which was also applied to the time of the early Church , was taken up in the introduction to the New Testament . His studies of the history of the University of Vienna in the early 16th century led to new insights, for example regarding the continued existence of the Poet College . His thesis of a rather slow increase in scientific knowledge compared to popular beliefs is based on the history of modern natural science . The history of the Nazi era relates to his depictions of the sermons of the preacher Arnold Köster, who was critical of National Socialism, as well as the behavior and fate of the Vienna Academy of Sciences . Often reference is also made to Graf-Stuhlhofer's critical comparisons of the predictions based on Bible passages and the near future of Bible Students around 1900 and around 1970, as well as by Protestant authors in the years before 1989, with actual world developments.


Franz (Graf-) Stuhlhofer grew up in Vienna, where he still lives today. Here he studied history, science and theology. In 1980 he was with an investigation into an acting after 1500 in Vienna humanistic astronomers to Dr. phil. PhD (in Modern History , with a minor in Ancient History ). The study in Vienna was followed by two semesters of history of natural sciences at the University of Hamburg . He completed his science studies in 2002 at the University of Aarhus (Denmark) with a Bachelor of Science .

He has been married to Adelheid Graf since 1994 and has had the double name Graf-Stuhlhofer ever since . His earlier publications were still under Franz Stuhlhofer .

He teaches free church religion at a school, biblical studies and dogmatics at a university of education and natural science history at the University of Vienna .

Research areas

Bible use

Graf-Stuhlhofer turned to the history of the impact of the Bible using quantitative methods. He examined how intensively the individual books belonging to this “Bible” collection were actually used in sermons and in theological disputes; its results appeared as a book: The Use of the Bible from Jesus to Euseb . Graf-Stuhlhofer's access found its way into the German and English language introductory studies to the New Testament .

In his portrayal of the biblical canon history , John Barton relies heavily on Graf-Stuhlhofer's quantitative results, through which - according to Barton's assessment - the canon discussion has reached a new level. Barton considers the finding that in practice there are often three classes of fonts with regard to the intensity of use to be fundamental.

Reviews in theological journals judged the results of this new approach as stimulating, but also referred to methodological difficulties - in the opinion of some reviewers not sufficiently taken into account.

Graf-Stuhlhofer also applied the quantitative consideration of the use of the Bible to other epochs of church history, for example to individual reformers such as Martin Luther.

The insignia of the Poet College

University of Vienna after 1500

In 1501, Emperor Maximilian I founded a pioneering humanistic institution, a " Collegium poetarum " ( poet college ) at the University of Vienna, with four chairs. Konrad Celtis was the initiator and leader. Historians used to estimate that this college lasted at most until the death of Celtis in 1508, i.e. only operated for a few years. On the basis of several circumstantial evidence, Graf-Stuhlhofer came to the conclusion that this college outlived Celtis' death and continued into the 1530s - i.e. for several decades. This new assessment was accepted and expanded by Kurt Mühlberger , the long-time director of the Vienna University Archives.

The number of important naturalists has doubled every century since around 1500.

Quantitative-historical science research

In science research , the application of scientific methods to science itself, the history of science is also included. Graf-Stuhlhofer assumed that the selection made by science historians was reasonably appropriate to the historical course, and statistically evaluated chronological tables of important discoveries and lexicons of great naturalists . Apart from the possibility of drawing conclusions about the historical course, such a consideration is also suitable for self-reflection of such lexicons, because they show the editors of these lexica the historical impression conveyed by their selection.

Kösters handwriting (record book)

NS-critical sermons

Graf-Stuhlhofer considers the sermons of the Baptist Arnold Köster given in Austria during the Nazi era to be unique, as they repeatedly contain political references and these often contain a criticism of the peculiarities of National Socialist propaganda and practice.


The Christian expectation of the return of Jesus has often been linked to current political events, especially since the Six Day War in 1967. Books with the message that the end is now imminent also enjoyed high circulation in the German-speaking area. For the first time, Stuhlhofer undertook a critical review of the announcements contained in these books and showed that they were largely wrong.



Fonts (selection)

to use the Bible:

  • The use of the Bible from Jesus to Euseb. A statistical study of the history of the canons (Theologische Verlagsgemeinschaft, monographs and study books ; 335). R.Brockhaus, Wuppertal 1988.
  • The yield of biblical indexes for the canon history , in: Zeitschrift für die Old Testamentliche Wissenschaft 100 (1988), pp. 244-261.

on university history:

  • The continuation of the Vienna Poet College after the death of Konrad Celtis (1508). A humanistic pioneer institution and its working environment , in: Journal for historical research 26 (1999), pp. 393-407.

on astronomy and astronomy in the late Middle Ages and early modern times:

  • Evidence of astrological choice of time in the life of some Habsburgs. In: Anzeiger der phil.-hist. Class of the Austrian Academy of Sciences 117 (1980), pp. 275-283.
  • Tradition (s) and empiricism in early modern natural research . In: Helmuth Grössing , Kurt Mühlberger (ed.): Science and culture at the turn of the ages (= writings from the archive of the University of Vienna ; 15). V&R unipress, Göttingen 2012, pp. 63–80.

for science research:

  • Our knowledge doubles every 100 years. Foundation of a 'knowledge measurement'. In: Reports on the History of Science 6 (1983) pp. 169–193.
  • Wages and punishment in science. Natural scientist in the judgment of history (= Perspectives of the history of science , Volume 4). Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 1987, ISBN 3-205-06771-1 (on the historiography of science).
  • Darwinism reception among Austria's biologists. Not two schools, but many directions. In: Michael Benedikt, Reinhold Knoll (ed.): Education and imagination… Philosophy in Austria (1820–1880) (Repressed Humanism - Delayed Enlightenment; 3). Vienna 1995, pp. 797-807.

on Christianity in Austria in the 20th century:

  • Evangelical Alliance in Vienna from the First Republic to the Nazi era (1920–45). Edition of the meeting minutes and programs (studies on the history of Christian movements of the Reformation tradition in Austria; 2). VKW, Bonn 2010.
  • Free churches in Austria since 1846. On the sources and on questions of method. In: Yearbook for the History of Protestantism in Austria 124f (2008/09), pp. 270–302.
  • Anabaptist churches in the Ostmark. By Adventists, Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses (research report ) , in: Austria in History and Literature 44 (2000), pp. 73–93.

on the history of Jehovah's Witnesses:

  • Charles T. Russell and Jehovah's Witnesses. The incorrigible prophet. Schwengeler, Berneck 1990, ISBN 3-85666-293-6 (3rd edition 1994).

NS critical to sermons ,

  • Public criticism of National Socialism in the Greater German Reich. Life and worldview of the Viennese Baptist pastor Arnold Köster (1896–1960) (historical and theological studies of the 19th and 20th centuries; 9). Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 2001.

on science in the Nazi era:

  • The Academy of Sciences in Vienna in the Third Reich , in: Christoph J. Scriba (Hrsg.): The elite of the nation in the Third Reich. The relationship of academies and their scientific environment to National Socialism (Acta historica Leopoldina; 22). Halle / Saale 1995, pp. 133-159.
  • Opportunists, sympathizers and officials. Support of the Nazi system in the Vienna Academy of Sciences, represented by the work of Nadler, Srbik and Master. In: Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 110 (1998) issue 4–5 (special issue “On the 60th anniversary of the expulsion of Jewish colleagues from the Vienna medical faculty”), pp. 152–157.
  • The fate of Jews is not an issue. Letters from German scientists during the Nazi period between sympathy and anti-Semitism. In: Ashkenaz. Journal for History and Culture of the Jews 9 (1999), pp. 447–487.

on National Socialism:

  • Hitler on the Hess case before the Reich and Gauleiter on May 13, 1941. Documentation of the Knoth postscript. In: past and present. Quarterly books for contemporary history, social analysis and political education 18 (1999), pp. 95–100.

to eschatology:

  • “The end is near!” The errors of the end-time specialists (theological teaching and study material; 24). Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, Bonn, 3rd edition 2007 (reprint of 2nd edition 1993, new with register).

on science and religion:

  • The theory of evolution and the question of the world reason. In: Philosophia naturalis . 20, 1982/1983, pp. 492-505.
  • Natural Scientist and the Question of God. Berneck 1988 (also in Italian and Croatian).

on homiletics :

  • Preach base. Basics of the Christian faith in sermons, plus a didactic homiletics for advanced students . Publishing house for theology and religious studies, Nuremberg 2010. ISBN 978-3-941750-33-3

Associate Editor

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. A secondary result of this investigation was the detection of numerous errors in the research literature available up to then: To the court astronomers of Emperor Maximilians. About the decades-long persistence of historical errors. In: Bibliothèque d'humanisme et renaissance 60 (1998), pp. 413-419.
  2. Published in a revised form as a book: Humanism between Court and University. Georg Tannstetter (Collimitius)… (= series of publications of the University Archives , University of Vienna ; 8). Vienna 1996 (on the Poet College pp. 44–71).
  3. The second half of the thesis has been published: Age and scientific creativity. On young discoveries in physics, chemistry and mathematics. In: Communications from the Austrian Society for the History of Science 28 (2011), pp. 143–175.
  4. namely in a BAfEP in Vienna .
  5. Freikirchlich Religion Course
  6. Personnel Directory
  7. Udo Schnelle : Introduction to the NT . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1996, pp. 402, 407, 417 (in connection with the collection of Paul’s letters and the reception of the Hebrews).
  8. ^ Donald A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo: Introduction to the NT . Brunnen, Gießen 2010, pp. 399, 875, 888 (canon history). American original: 2nd edition 2005. - More about Carson and Moo in the English Wikipedia: en: Donald A. Carson and en: Douglas J. Moo , professors for NT in Illinois, USA.
  9. ^ The Spirit and the Letter. Studies in the Biblical Canon , London 1997. The identical American edition is called Holy writings, sacred text. The canon in early christianity , also 1997.
  10. "All this is illustrated with a wealth of statistical information which it is hard for the non-specialist to evaluate, but which seems to me to move discussion of 'the canon' on to a new level of precision." (P. 17 )
  11. ^ "Stuhlhofer's book ... seems to me to have advanced the study of the canon considerably. ... His recognition that there have been three classes of book for Christianity from the earliest time for which we have records, irrespective of the theoretical positions writers have adopted or the terminology they have used, seems to me fundamentally important for any fresh theory about 'Canonization' that might be developed in the future. ”(p. 21).
  12. For example, B. Anton Ziegenau on a central aspect: "The actual objection relates to Stuhlhofer's principle of inferring the degree of canonical validity from the frequency of use." In: Forum Katholische Theologie 5 (1989), p. 159 .
  13. Martin Luther's use of the Bible in quantitative consideration. In: Theological Conversation. Free Church Contributions to Theology 24 (2000) , pp. 111–120.
  14. Published a. a. as a Latin poetry school. The Collegium poetarum of Konrad Celtis from 1501 to 1537. In: Graz contributions. Journal for Classical Classical Studies 22 (1998), pp. 211-214.
  15. ^ Kurt Mühlberger: Poet College and Coronation of Poets in Vienna . In: Images - Data - Promotions. Studies on doctoral studies at German universities in the early modern period , ed. by Rainer A. Müller †, arr. by Hans-Christoph Liess, Rüdiger vom Bruch (= Pallas Athene. Contributions to the history of universities and science; 24). Stuttgart 2007, pp. 84–119, in the section on the life of the Poetenkolleg .
  16. For a by Jan Vlachý ed. Stuhlhofer wrote the following article on scientometrics : Does the rate of growth of our knowledge depend on the quality-level considered? In: Czechoslovak Journal of Physics 36 (1986), pp. 154-156.
  17. In this sense Stuhlhofer's study was used by Fritz Krafft (ed.): Große Naturwissenschaftler. Biographical Lexicon . Düsseldorf 2nd edition 1986, in the foreword.
  18. With regard to a number of subject areas, Köster's sermons are compared with those of contemporary preachers in: Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer: From the “Limit of the Possible” in the Third Reich. Criticism of the national in the unique collection of sermons of the Viennese Baptist pastor Arnold Köster. In: past and present. Quarterly books for contemporary history, social analysis and political education 18 (1999), pp. 13–35.
  19. ^ This is why Köster was included in the Metzler Lexicon of Christian Thinkers . Stuttgart 2000, ed. by Markus Vinzent, Professor of History of Theology at King's College, London.
  20. So in the discussion of the Materialdienst der EZW 56 (1993), p. 30f.
  21. Briefly in: Church contemporary history. International half-yearly publication for theology and history 14 (2001), pp. 557-564.
  22. Thomas Schirrmacher describes this book as a "classic", in his introduction to the 3rd edition, SX