Sönke Lorenz

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Sönke Lorenz (center)

Sönke Lorenz (born June 30, 1944 in Elmshorn ; † August 8, 2012 in Tübingen ) was a German historian . From 1991 to 2011 he taught as professor for middle and modern history at the University of Tübingen .

Live and act

Sönke Lorenz grew up in Essen. Between 1960 and 1963 he completed an apprenticeship as a high-voltage electrician. He worked in this profession until 1972. He obtained his Abitur in 1968 at the evening high school in Düsseldorf. From 1972 to 1978 he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Düsseldorf , then history, German and philosophy. Josef Semmler got him excited about the Middle Ages. Lorenz was in Düsseldorf with a thesis supervised by Herbert Kolb and Josef Semmler on the subject of sending files and the witch trial. Shown using the example of the law faculties in Rostock and Greifswald (1570 / 82–1630) who completed a doctorate. In 1979 he became a research assistant to August Nitschke at the University of Stuttgart . The habilitation took place in 1985 at the university there with the thesis Studium generale Erfordense. On Erfurt school life in the 13th and 14th centuries . He succeeded in naming 44 teachers and illuminating the teaching program of the Erfurt study program. Thanks to his research, Erfurt became the "oldest university in Central Europe". With Dieter R. Bauer , he founded the “Working Group for Interdisciplinary Witch Research” (AKIH) in 1985/86.

From 1991 to 2011 he was Dieter Mertens' successor Professor of Middle and Modern History and Head of the Institute for Historical Regional Studies and Historical Auxiliary Sciences at the University of Tübingen and thus also head of the Institute for Historical Regional Studies. Lorenz was a full member since 1992 and since 1994 a member of the board of the commission for historical regional studies in Baden-Württemberg . Lorenz declined an appointment to the newly created professorship for Pomeranian history and regional studies. He died in August 2012 of longstanding cancer.

His research areas were the history of the south-west of Germany (especially the history of the nobility of the high Middle Ages), university history, primarily using the example of Tübingen, and witch research. Lorenz presented six monographs, over 175 articles in journals and articles in numerous compilations, various lexicon articles and 70 editorships or co-editorships. He was responsible for five series of publications. As an academic teacher, Lorenz supervised 34 dissertations. Lorenz did intensive research into the history of the Count Palatine of Tübingen . He published the Tübingen professor catalog. The first volumes were published in 2006 and 2011.

Another focus of his work was the collegiate church project developed together with Oliver Auge . All collegiate churches in the area of ​​today's Baden-Württemberg from the Carolingian era to secularization were to be recorded in a manual . For this project he was able to win 80 authors to collaborate. Five meetings were held from 2000 to 2004 to implement the project. Lorenz was unable to complete the publication of the manual himself. The project was completed in 2019 by Oliver Auge and Sigrid Hirbodian and presented to the public on November 28, 2019.

Numerous works by his students were also devoted to collegiate church research. Together with Andreas Schmauder, Lorenz was the publisher of the local history book series, Community in Transition . In 1995 Lorenz founded the book series Hexenforschung with Dieter R. Bauer . The regional history series of Tübingen building blocks for regional history also goes back to Lorenz , which began in 2000 with Miriam Zitter's master's thesis, which he supervised, The personal physicians of the Württemberg counts in the 15th century (1397–1496) .

Fonts (selection)


  • General study requirements. On Erfurt school life in the 13th and 14th centuries (= monographs on the history of the Middle Ages. Vol. 34). Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-7772-8917-5 (at the same time: Stuttgart, University, habilitation thesis, 1985).
  • Kaiserswerth in the Middle Ages. Genesis, structure and organization of royal rule on the Lower Rhine (= Studia humaniora. Vol. 23), Droste, Düsseldorf 1993, ISBN 3-7700-0829-4 .


  • Early forms of collegiate churches in Europe: Function and change of religious communities from the 6th to the end of the 11th century (= Writings on Southwest German Regional Studies, Vol. 54). DVW-Verlag, Leinfelden-Echterdingen 2005, ISBN 3-87181-754-6 .
  • with Jürgen Michael Schmidt: Against all witchcraft and the work of the devil. The European witch hunt and its effects on southwest Germany. Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2004, ISBN 3-7995-0137-1 .
  • with Rainer Loose : King, Church, Nobility. Ruling structures in the central Alpine region and adjacent areas (6th – 13th centuries). Lectures at the Scientific Conference of the South Tyrolean Cultural Institute and the Institute for Historical Regional Studies and Historical Auxiliary Sciences of the University of Tübingen in the Bildungshaus Schloss Goldrain / Vinschgau, June 17-21, 1998. Tappeiner, Lana (Bozen) 1999, ISBN 88-7073-283-5 .
  • with Dieter R. Bauer, Wolfgang Behringer , Jürgen Michael Schmidt: Himmler's Hexenkartothek. The interest of National Socialism in the persecution of witches (= witch research. Vol. 4). Publishing house for regional history, Bielefeld 1999, ISBN 3-89534-273-4 .
  • with Dieter Mertens , Volker Press : Das Haus Württemberg. A biographical lexicon. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1997, ISBN 3-17-013605-4 .
  • Sönke Lorenz (†), Oliver Auge, Sigrid Hirbodian (ed.): Handbook of the collegiate churches in Baden-Württemberg. Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2019, ISBN 978-3-7995-1154-4 .


Web links


  1. Dieter Mertens: Obituary for Sönke Lorenz (1944–2012). In: Zeitschrift für Württembergische Landesgeschichte , 72nd year (2013), pp. 515–522, here: p. 516.
  2. Oliver Auge: In memoriam Sönke Lorenz (* 30.VI.1944, † 8.VIII.2012). In: Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte , 148th volume (2012), pp. 509–516, here: p. 509.
  3. Oliver Auge: In memoriam Sönke Lorenz (* 30.VI.1944, † 8.VIII.2012). In: Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte , 148th volume (2012), pp. 509-516, here: p. 514.
  4. Oliver Auge: In memoriam Sönke Lorenz (* 30.VI.1944, † 8.VIII.2012). In: Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte , 148th vol. (2012), pp. 509–516, here: p. 515.
  5. Presentation: The Handbook of Collegiate Churches in Baden-Württemberg (November 28, 2019) on YouTube .
  6. Book series “Community in Change” with a list of the individual volumes.
  7. Book series "Hexenforschung" with a list of the individual volumes.