Friedrich Gogarten

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friedrich Gogarten (born January 13, 1887 in Dortmund , † October 16, 1967 in Göttingen ) was a Lutheran theologian and co-founder of dialectical theology in Germany in the early 20th century.


Gogarten studied theology in Jena, Berlin and Heidelberg until 1912. His formative teachers were Adolf von Harnack and Ernst Troeltsch . In 1914 he was appointed assistant preacher in Bremen , in 1917 pastor in Stelzendorf near Zeulenroda and in 1925 in the parish office in Dorndorf an der Saale .

In 1927 Gogarten completed his habilitation on intellectual history and the history of theology at the University of Jena and has taught as a private lecturer ever since. In 1931 he took over the chair for systematic theology in Breslau as the successor to Erich Schaeder , had to take over the substitution of Karl Barth in Bonn in the summer semester of 1935 and then became a full professor in Göttingen in the winter semester of 1935 as the successor of Carl Stange Systematic theology called and appointed university preacher. On February 25, 1955, he retired in Göttingen.

Shortly after August 4, 1933, Gogarten joined the German Christians . After the “Sportpalast rally” on November 13, 1933 in Berlin, he separated from the religious community with a declaration about the “German Christian Faith Movement” that appeared in several magazines. The NSDAP is never joined Gogarten.

Friedrich Gogarten died in 1967 at the age of 80. His grave is in the old town cemetery in Göttingen .

Work and meaning

Gogarten's essay Between the Times of 1920 is considered to be one of the founding documents of Dialectical Theology. Under the leadership of Karl Barth , this new theological direction was differentiated from the liberal theology that had prevailed until then and its representatives ( Albrecht Ritschl et al.). Against the historicism and anthropocentrism of evangelical theology of the 19th century, dialectical theology emphasized the absolute opposition between God and man. The decisive publication organ of Dialectical Theology was the magazine Zwischen den Zeiten , named after Gogarten's essay , which was published by Christian Kaiser Verlag in Munich from 1923 to 1933 and to which Gogarten contributed 23 articles. Gogarten's monograph The Religious Decision of 1921 was also decisive for the theological new dawn

Even if Karl Barth wrote enthusiastically about Gogarten in a letter to Eduard Thurneysen in 1920 : “This is a dreadnought for us and against our adversaries. Who knows, he'll teach us one day! ”A few years later, however, there was a certain distance between Barth and Gogarten. The magazine Zwischen den Zeiten was later dissolved and there was a break with Barth and at times also with Rudolf Bultmann , who, however, resumed his relationship with Gogarten in 1940.

Gogarten's general theme is “Man between God and the world”, “The Church in the world” and secularization as a result of Christian revelation .



  • Theodor Strohm : Conservative political romanticism in the early theological writings of Friedrich Gogarten , Berlin 1961
  • Alexander Schwan : Historical theological constitution and destruction of politics. Friedrich Gogarten and Rudolf Bultmann , Berlin 1976
  • Christof Gestrich : Modern thinking and the split in dialectical theology. On the question of natural theology , Tübingen 1977
  • Michael Weinrich : Meeting reality ... Studies on Buber, Grisebach, Gogarten, Bonhoeffer and Hirsch , Neukirchen-Vluyn 1980
  • Matthias Kroeger : Friedrich Gogarten. Life and work from a contemporary perspective. With numerous documents and materials , Vol. 1, Stuttgart 1997
  • Martin Leiner: God's presence. Martin Buber's philosophy of dialogue and the approach of its theological reception in Friedrich Gogarten and Emil Brunner . Gütersloh 2000
  • Timothy Goering: Friedrich Gogarten (1887-1967). Religious rebel in the century of the world wars (Studies on the History of Ideas in Modern Times, Vol. 51), Berlin / Boston: de Gruyter 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-051730-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The grave of Friedrich Gogarten
  2. First published in the journal Die Christliche Welt 34, 1920/24, pp. 374–378; Reprint u. a. in Jürgen Moltmann (Ed.): Beginnings of Dialectical Theology. Part 2. Munich 1963, pp. 95-101, and in Wilfried Härle : Basic texts of the newer Protestant theology . Leipzig 2 2012, pp. 107–111.