Rudolf Smend (theologian, 1932)

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Rudolf Smend (born October 17, 1932 in Berlin ) is a German theologian ( Old Testament scholar ).

Rudolf Smend is the son of constitutional and canon lawyer Rudolf Smend and grandson of the Old Testament scholar of the same name, Rudolf Smend . He studied theology from 1951 to 1958 at the Universities of Tübingen , Göttingen and Basel . His most important academic teachers were the dogmatist Karl Barth , the Hebraist Walter Baumgartner and the Old Testament scholars Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth . In 1958 he received his doctorate in Basel with a thesis on Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette's work on AT and NT . In 1962 he completed his habilitation in Bonn with Martin Noth with the thesis Jahwekrieg and Tribal Association . From 1963 he held a professorship at the Church University of Berlin . From 1965 he was a full professor in Münster and from 1971 until his retirement in Göttingen as a professor of Old Testament sciences. In the eighties and nineties his work focused on science organization and research policy. Like his father before him, Rudolf Smend was Vice President from 1994 to 1996 and from 1998 to 2000 and President of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen from 1996 to 1998 and from 2000 to 2002 . From 1986 to 1992 he was Vice President of the German Research Foundation .

Smend became known for his research into the creation of the Old Testament. His study Das Gesetz und die Völker (1971) in the Festschrift for Gerhard von Rad founded an editorial-historical research into the Old Testament history books. Another focus of work is the history of science. He dealt in detail with Julius Wellhausen . In 2013 he published an edition of his letters about him. He also published an edition of Johann Gottfried Herder's writings on the Old Testament (1993).

Smend has received numerous scientific honors and memberships for his research. He received the JR Geigy Prize for his dissertation. In 1998, he was the first to receive the Alfried Krupp Science Prize. He is an honorary member of the Society for Old Testament Study (1979), and a full member of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen (1974). Corresponding Member of the British Academy (1992), Corresponding Member of the Norwegian (1994), Corresponding Member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences , the Norwegian Academy of Sciences (1994), Danish Academy of Sciences (1999) and Corresponding Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences ( 2006). He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews . In 2001 he was awarded the British Academy's Burkitt Medal . The medal is considered one of the most important awards for biblical studies.

He has been married since 1969.

Fonts (selection)

  • The middle of the Old Testament. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-16-147716-2
  • Old Testament preached in a Christian way (= service to the word. The series for worship and community work. Vol. 86). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-59350-3
  • Moses as a historical figure (= writings of the Historical College. Documentations. Vol. 11). Historical College Foundation, Munich 1995 ( digitized version )
  • The origin of the Old Testament (= Theological Science. Vol. 1). 5th, revised and expanded edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-17-013183-4 .


  • Heike Schmoll : Rudolf Smend. With Wellhausen and Karl May to the Old Testament. Amos' no and the middle of the script: Nothing came of the farewell to science. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , October 15, 2012, No. 240, p. 32.
  • Heike Schmoll: The presenter. To the Old Testament scholar Rudolf Smend for his seventieth. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , October 17, 2002, No. 241, p. 36.
  • Smend, Rudolf. In: Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar. Bio-bibliographical directory of contemporary German-speaking scientists. Volume 4: SE - Z. 28th edition. de Gruyter, Berlin et al. 2016, ISBN 978-3-11-040487-6 , p. 3592 f.
  • Without author: Appreciation of the new members: Rudolf Smend. In: Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Yearbook 2006, Munich 2007, p. 149 f.
  • Who is who? The German Who's Who. LI. Edition 2013/2014, p. 1076.

Web links


  1. ^ Rudolf Smend: The law and the peoples: A contribution to the deuteronomistic editorial history. In: Hans Walter Wolff (ed.): Problems of biblical theology. Gerhard von Rad on his 70th birthday. Munich 1971, pp. 494-509.
  2. Theology of the Beginning. Krupp Prize for Rudolf Smend. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , January 26, 1998, No. 21, p. 31.
  3. Member site at the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen
  4. Member site at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences
  5. Press release: British Academy honors Prof. Dr. Rudolf Smend with the Burkitt Medal. No. 98/2002 - February 27, 2002.