Gerhard von Rad

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Gerhard von Rad (born October 21, 1901 in Nuremberg , † October 31, 1971 in Heidelberg ) was a German Protestant theologian (Old Testament scholar).


Gerhard von Rad was one of the most important German biblical scholars of the post-war period. He started studying theology in Tübingen. There he was a member of the Tübingen student association, the Akademische Gesellschaft Stuttgardia, which shaped southern German liberalism . In the Stuttgardia society he was friends with later liberal political greats such as Eberhard Wildermuth , Karl Georg Pfleiderer , Konrad Wittwer , Wolfgang Haussmann and Guntram Palm . He began his academic career in Leipzig as a private lecturer (1930–1934), which led him to his first professorships in Jena (1934–1945) and Göttingen (1945–1949) and finally to Heidelberg (1949–1967). From 1955 he was a full member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences . In Jena he had contact with the resistance of the Neubauer-Poser group .

Von Rad is considered to be the rediscoverer of the “ Theology of the Old Testament ” - this is also the title of his main work, which has been translated into numerous languages. As a pupil of Albrecht Alt , at the same time under the influence of the work of Hermann Gunkel , von Rad developed a tradition-historical approach to the theology of the Old Testament, which he divided into two major areas, the "theology of historical tradition" and the "theology of the prophetic tradition ”.

His turn to Old Testament science is rooted in his experiences during the Third Reich , where he first worked as vicar and then as professor in Jena, dealing with anti-Semitic currents within the Church and society, which ultimately led to an intensive lecture engagement within the Confessing Church .

His impact as an academic teacher was enormous both in the pastorate and in the academic next generation. Many of his students later held professorships at German universities such as B. Hans Walter Wolff , Odil Hannes Steck , Hans-Joachim Kraus , Rolf Rendtorff , Klaus Koch and Hans-Jürgen Hermisson . Hartmut Gese also took up key approaches from Rads .

In 1963 Gerhard von Rad was accepted into the order Pour le mérite for sciences and arts .

Works (in selection)

Title page of the Genesis commentary in a 1972 edition
  • The form-historical problem of the Hexateuch (BWANT 26). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1938.
  • The first book of Moses: Genesis . - Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Vol. 1: 1949, 11 1981; Vol. 2: 1952, 6 1967; Vol. 3: 1953, 5 1967.
  • The fifth book of Moses: Deuteronomy . Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1964, 3 1978.
  • God's Work in Israel: Lectures on the Old Testament. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener 1974. ISBN 3-7887-0404-7
  • Theology of the Old Testament, Volume 1: The Theology of the Historical Tradition of Israel. Munich 1957, 10 1992. ISBN 3-459-01673-6
  • Old Testament Theology, Volume 2: The Theology of the Prophetic Tradition of Israel. Munich 1967, 9 1987. ISBN 3-459-01674-4
  • Wisdom in Israel. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener 1970. ISBN 3-7887-0012-2

Secondary literature

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gerhard von Rad: Vita ,, accessed on June 15, 2016.