Sebastian Merkle

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Sebastian Merkle (born August 28, 1862 in Ellwangen , † April 24, 1945 in Wargolshausen ) was a Roman Catholic theologian and church historian .


Sebastian Merkle, the youngest of nine children of a farming family, studied after graduating from high school in Ellwangen in 1882 at the Wilhelmsstift in Tübingen and entered the seminary of the Rottenburg diocese in Rottenburg in 1886 . On July 19, 1887, he was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Rottenburg, Karl Joseph von Hefele . He then worked in pastoral care in Schwäbisch Gmünd and Schramberg. In 1888 he became a lecturer in philosophy at Wilhelmstift in Tubingen, the Episcopal theological convent of the Rottenburg diocese, where he in 1892 with a thesis on John Dominici († 1419) to Dr. phil. received his doctorate. He was a member of the theological society Guelfia , Tübingen. From 1894 to 1897 Merkle was on research stays with the Görres Society , in particular on the history of the Council of Trento, in the Vatican Archives in Rome, in the National Library in Naples as well as in Spain, Budapest, Vienna and Munich. In 1898, with a thesis on the history of the Council of Trent at the Catholic theological faculty of Tübingen, he was awarded a doctorate. theol. PhD.

In 1898 he was offered a chair for church history, Christian dogma history and Christian archeology at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg . In 1904 he was elected rector of the University of Würzburg. In 1933 he retired . Merkle contributed significantly to the objectification of the then extremely conflictual relationship between Catholics and Protestants, for example as an expert in the so-called Beyhl-Berlichingen trial , where he rejected the anti-clocking clichés of the former Jesuit Gustav Adolf Freiherr von Berlichingen as superficial and false. He also criticized the polemical failures of the Catholic church historian Heinrich Denifle in his work on Martin Luther , although he pointed out that these were also an echo of the Protestant defamation against Catholic science.

Merkle published numerous important works. His essay "Past and Present of the Catholic Theological Faculties", published in 1913, was placed on the index of forbidden books until it was revoked. One of his students in Würzburg was Julius Döpfner .

In the bombing of Würzburg on March 16, 1945 , he lost his 25,000-volume library. He stayed with a former student who was a chaplain in Wargolshausen and died shortly afterwards due to his weakened body. He was buried in the village cemetery.

honors and awards


Web links

Wikisource: The Catholic Church (1914)  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Weise: From the "Apostle of Satan" to the "Father in Faith". The Catholic view of Luther as a mirror of denominational coexistence and opposition. In: Wichmann-Jahrbuch , vol. 58/59 (2018/2019) NF 15, pp. 65–94, here pp. 87f.
  2. ^ Ansgar Büttner: The well-known professor and theologian Sebastian Merkle in Wargolshausen . In: Heimat-Jahrbuch des Landkreis Rhön-Grabfeld , vol. 32 (2010), pp. 19–22.
  3. Wolfgang Burr (ed.): Unitas manual . tape 2 . Verlag Franz Schmitt, Siegburg 1996, p. 208 ff .