Hubert Jedin

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Hubert Jedin (born June 17, 1900 in Groß Briesen near Friedewalde , Province of Silesia , † July 16, 1980 in Bonn ) was a German Catholic church historian .


Hubert Jedin, the son of a teacher, enjoyed a humanistic education. He passed the Abitur in Neisse . He then studied theology and history from 1918 in Munich , Freiburg im Breisgau and Breslau , where he was ordained a priest in 1924. His main academic teachers were Heinrich Finke and Bernhard Geyer . In 1925 he received his doctorate in Breslau under the well-known church historian Franz Xaver Seppelt . In 1930 he completed his habilitation with a biography of Cardinal Girolamo Seripando . This work was created during a study visit to Rome from 1926 to 1930. Jedin was a chaplain at Campo Santo Teutonico , then a scholarship holder of the Görres Society .

Until 1933 he taught as a private lecturer at the Catholic theological faculty of the University of Breslau , then the venia legendi was withdrawn from him by the National Socialists because his mother was of Jewish descent. In October 1933 he went to Rome again. In 1936 Cardinal Bertram appointed him archivist of the diocese, but the government prevented his full appointment to this office. After his temporary arrest after the Reichspogromnacht in 1938 , Jedin planned to return to Rome, which was only possible a year later. There he devoted himself, supported by Cardinal Giovanni Mercati , to work on the history and on the edition of the acts of the Council of Trent . During his Roman years he was in close contact with the church historians Karl August Fink , Hermann Hoberg and Friedrich Kempf , who also came from Germany . When the Wehrmacht occupied Rome in 1943/44, Jedin could not leave the Vatican .

In 1946 he became an honorary professor for church history at the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Bonn , in 1949 he accepted an appointment as an associate professor in Bonn and returned to Germany. In 1951 he was appointed full professor for middle and modern church history, in 1965 he retired. At the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965 Jedin took part as a so-called peritus , that is, as an advisory theologian, after he had belonged to a preparatory commission before it was opened.

In 1973, on the initiative of the Istituto Trentino di Cultura, Hubert Jedin and Paolo Prodi founded the Italian-German historical institute (Isig) .

Hubert Jedin's diary is in the possession of Konrad Repgen , who in 1984 published a "life report" written by Jedin mainly between 1960 and 1975. Hubert Jedin died on July 16, 1980 in Bonn and was buried in the Bonn- Poppelsdorf cemetery. At the instigation of the church historian Erwin Gatz , a memorial plaque was installed in the Campo Santo Teutonico cemetery in Rome.


His most important academic achievements are a four-volume (in 5 sub-volumes) history of the Council of Trent and the publication and co-authorship of the multi-volume handbook of church history , which has remained the standard work for this discipline to this day. Jedin is regarded as one of the most outstanding church historians of the 20th century, both because of the breadth of his scientific research area and because of his gift as a science organizer. Jedin became known to the general public through his Little Council History, with which he created a standard work for an introduction to the history of the Councils of the Catholic Church.

In his research, Hubert Jedin also dealt with periodization and concept formation. Wilhelm Maurenbrecher replaced the epoch term “ Counter Reformation ” with “Catholic Reformation”, which meant the phase of the Catholic renewal movement within the church after the Reformation. Hubert Jedin ( Catholic Reformation or Counter Reformation. An attempt to clarify the terms along with an anniversary study of the Council of Trento , Lucerne 1946) now replaces the term “Catholic Reformation” based on a review by Hermann Baumgarten of Maurenbrecher's main work from 1880 and his own studies with “ Catholic Reform ". The term Jedin did not gain acceptance without reservation, rather the term “ Reformation- Catholic Reform-Counter-Reformation” continued. Jedin's term periodization was increasingly superseded by the term “age of confessionalization ” by Wolfgang Reinhard and Ernst Walter Zeeden (1916–2011). Whereby this term now covers the epoch from the 16th to the 18th century and thus no real substitute term for “counter-reformation” was created for the phase between the Reformation and the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia. The concept of confessionalization includes the modernization paradigm .

Jedin has published more than 700 titles, including over 40 books and more than 250 articles. He has also written numerous articles in important theological and historical encyclopedias. The second edition of the Lexicon for Theology and Church , created between 1957 and 1965, contains 76 articles written by Jedin.

Awards and honors

Jedin has received several honorary doctorates and other honors. Among other things, Jedin received the Görres Society's Ring of Honor in 1978 . Since 1967 he was a corresponding member of the British Academy . In 1968 he was elected a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. He was a member of the Historical Commission for Silesia .


  • Life story. With a document attachment , ed. Konrad Repgen (= Publications of the Commission for Contemporary History. Vol. 35). Matthias Grünewald Verlag, Mainz 1984, ISBN 3-7867-1086-4


Web links


  1. ^ Remigius Bäumer : Karl August Fink † . In: Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv , Vol. 104 (1984), pp. 327-330, here p. 328.
  2. ^ "Italian-German Historical Institute" , Isig , accessed on January 20, 2012
  3. ^ Albrecht Weiland: The Campo Santo Teutonico in Rome and its grave monuments . Volume I, Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1988, ISBN 3-451-20882-2 , pp. 414-416
  4. ^ Deceased Fellows. British Academy, accessed June 14, 2020 .
  5. ^ [ Fifty Years of the Historical Commission for Silesia . In: Yearbook of the Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Breslau, Volume 17, 1972, list of members p. 414.]