Karl Immanuel Nitzsch

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Karl Immanuel Nitzsch 1848

Karl Immanuel Nitzsch (born September 21, 1787 in Borna ; † August 21, 1868 in Berlin ) was a Protestant theologian .


Karl (often: Carl) Immanuel Nitzsch was born as the son of the former pastor of the Wittenberg town church , the general superintendent of the Saxon spa district and the first director of the royal Prussian evangelical seminary in Wittenberg, Karl Ludwig and Luise Nitzsch (née Wernsdorf). After attending the school in Pforta , he began studying philosophy , classical philology and Protestant theology at the University of Wittenberg in 1806 .

Shaped by his father, he received his doctorate in 1809 and his habilitation in 1810, as well as the examination for the spiritual office before the Dresden upper consistory. In 1811 Nitzsch became vicar at the castle church in Wittenberg and in 1813 received the third position of deacon at the local church. The French occupation of Wittenberg stopped teaching at the university, so that Nitzsch worked as a pastor and in 1815 moved to Berlin, where he received his theological doctorate.

In 1817, as a result of the resolutions of the Congress of Vienna, the University of Wittenberg was merged with the University of Halle and relocated to Halle. To compensate for this, the royal Prussian seminary in Wittenberg by Friedrich Wilhelm III. opened. Along with his father, Nitzsch was one of the first teaching staff and taught history of church life and eloquence . In 1820 he took up the post of provost and superintendent in Kemberg and in May 1822 followed a call from the University of Bonn as professor for systematic and practical theology.

There he made a name for himself as a proponent of mediation theology in the face of a resurgence of the orthodox faith , which he sought to reconcile with knowledge. As a university preacher and second mayor in Bonn , as a delegate of the Mülheim district synod (since 1824), as a member (since 1835) and later vice-president (1838) of the Rhenish provincial synod, as a Prussian senior consistorial councilor and member of the Berlin general synod of 1846 , Nitzsch devoted himself above all to the Overcoming the increasingly hardening church political fronts between confessionalism and liberalism, as well as the church's efforts towards union . In 1827/28 he was the rector of the university.

He was particularly committed to the church's own liturgical law, which he defended in the agendas against massive attempts by the king to intervene, the church's right to self-government, which he saw implemented through the presbytery and synodal constitution, as well as the freedom to doctrinal and confessional clergy as freely as possible. Nitzsch tried unsuccessfully at the Berlin General Synod in 1846 to write it down in a minimalist ordination form, the design of which was derided by conservative opponents as " Nitzschenum ". In 1847 this earned him a theological appointment at the University of Berlin , where he was rector of the university in 1848/49 .

His liberal-conservative attitude led him to join the Prussian state parliament . Since 1852 he was a member of the Evangelical Upper Church Council of the Evangelical Church in Prussia , became provost to St. Nikolai in 1854 and superintendent to St. Marien in 1864 . In the spring of 1868 he was relieved of his duties for reasons of age and illness.


Nitzsch was an honorary member of the Berlin Wingolf . He is buried in the St. Marien and St. Nikolai Cemetery I in Berlin-Pankow.


His effects as a theological teacher are far-reaching. The discipline of practical theology owes him a prudent and demanding consolidation, which Nitzsch registered the title of "old master" of practical theological science. As a distinguished mediation theologian, Nitzsch's influence reached far beyond the limits of theological science. Protestant-Prussian church policy, the themes and problems of which were reflected in the negotiations and resolutions of the Berlin General Synod of 1846 , found a central figure that was as committed as it was representative in Nitzsch.

Selection of works

  • De evangeliorum apokryphorum in explicandis canonicis usu et abusu. Dissertation Wittenberg 1809.
  • De testamentis duodecim patriarchorum, fibro Veteris Testamenti. Habilitation thesis Wittenberg 1810.
  • Theological Studies. First part. 1816.
  • Theological vote on the new court church agenda and its further introduction. Bonn 1824.
  • System of Christian teaching . 1831.
  • Ad theologiam practicam felicius excolendam observationes / reflections on a successful elaboration of practical theology . Edited by Renate et al. Pure Preul . (1831) Waltrop 2006.
  • Practical theology . 3 vols. Bonn 1847ff.
  • Philipp Melanchthon . Lecture 1855.
  • Religion as the moving and regulating power of world history. Lecture 1855.
  • About Lavater and Gellert . 1857.
  • About the Christian doctrine of the faith for students of all faculties. Academic lectures edited by E. Walther in 1858.
  • Sermons from the administration in Bonn a. Berlin. New complete edition 1867.
  • Historical treatises. 2 volumes 1870.


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