Karl Heussi

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Karl Heussi's grave in the north cemetery in Jena

Karl Heussi (born June 16, 1877 in Leipzig , † January 25, 1961 in Jena ) was a German Protestant church historian .

Karl Heussi attended the Nikolaigymnasium in his hometown and studied theology, history and philosophy in Leipzig, Berlin and Marburg. In 1901 the first and in 1903 the second theological exam took place. In 1903 he received his doctorate in Leipzig under Karl Lamprecht with a thesis on the church historiography of Johann Lorenz von Mosheim . In 1911 he acquired the degree of licentiate in theology from Hans von Schubert in Heidelberg.

From 1904 to 1924 he was a senior teacher, later professor at the König-Albert-Gymnasium in Leipzig. The University of Giessen awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1919 . From 1924 until his retirement in 1953 he taught as a full professor for church history at the University of Jena . In 1930/31 he was rector at the University of Jena.

His main research interests in church history were the age of the old church, especially its beginnings and early development, and the 18th century. His textbook Compendium of Church History developed into one of the leading representations of the history of the Church. His research on the origin of monasticism, in which monasticism is influenced from the outside, but is essentially an internal Christian phenomenon, is widely accepted.


  • Compendium of Church History. 18th edition, Tübingen 1991, ISBN 3-16-145842-7 (last revision by Heussi: 12th edition 1960).
  • The origin of monasticism. Aalen 1981 (reprint of the Tübingen 1936 edition), ISBN 3-511-09134-9 .


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