Theodor Ballauff

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Theodor Ballauff (born January 14, 1911 in Magdeburg ; † December 20, 1995 in Mainz ) was a German educator and professor at the Universities of Cologne and Mainz.

Theodor Ballauff. Signature 1972


Born in Magdeburg , Ballauff grew up in Kassel from 1915 under the care of his mother. His father died in the First World War in 1914 . In 1930 he graduated from the Wilhelmsgymnasium Kassel . From 1930 to 1937 Ballauff studied chemistry , biology , philosophy , psychology and religious studies at the Universities of Göttingen , Vienna and Berlin . In 1937 he joined the NSDAP . Part-time he worked for the science office of the NSDAP Reich leadership. He was block administrator of the National Socialist People's Welfare (NSV) . In 1938 he received his doctorate in Berlin with a thesis on the concept of imagination in Kant , supervised by Nicolai Hartmann . In the same year he passed the examination for the higher teaching post and became a trainee lawyer at the University Library in Halle . After his assessor examination, he was appointed librarian at the Prussian State Library . In 1944 Ballauff completed his habilitation with the thesis “The transcendent problem in contemporary philosophy” in Halle. Alfred Rosenberg and his mentor Alfred Baeumler found him a teaching position at the University of Halle .

In 1940 Ballauff was drafted into military service. He became head radio operator in the telex teaching company of the Halle news regiment.

From October 1946 Ballauff was initially an assistant at the University of Cologne , later a private lecturer and from 1952 an associate professor. In 1947 he had a teaching position at the University of Bonn . In 1955 Ballauff became an associate professor for philosophy and education at the University of Mainz, and in 1956 a full professor for education . In 1979 he retired. A well-known student is Klaus Schaller .

During his years in Cologne Ballauff married his wife Hildegard, b. Weitzel. Two children, a daughter and a son, were born to the couple.

Pedagogy of the "selfless responsibility of the truth"

Contrary to an " anthropocentric " educational structure of self-search, which proceeds from the human being as a being who realizes himself through the appropriation of the world and is committed to the master of the whole, for Ballauff educated humanity means: elevation to thought and "selfless responsibility of truth", to be "spokesman, lawyer and mediator of everything that we are not" and what is set in a quasi-natural "fundamental ideology of man" as "material of human education". For him, the widespread pluralism is only "a thin blanket over the abyss of the inexplicability of truth." Education today should encompass this endurance in the knowledge of the abyss of our thinking that characterizes modern man. "" The metatheoretical thesis that there is none Absolute theoretical truth can give is absolute. Certainly, it does not mean anything about content, it does not mean that there is no truth; it even presupposes this. But it excludes human knowledge and research, understanding and formulation from any finality or better: preserves them from any finality and keeps them moving. "

Erwin Hufnagel : “At a time when the smashing of the humanities education was celebrated more or less contemplatively with the hopeful word educational science, Ballauff, who was certainly not a supporter of the humanities education, insisted with friendly carefree that educational thinking should be in the evoked educational science he dies. This may also be due to the fact that this profound thinker was marginalized a little to the detriment of pedagogy as a science. "Ballauff replaces" the metaphysical pseudo-justifications with an anticipatory, timed and historically fulfilled a priori: the idea of Humanity, about which we fundamentally know and whose forms and historical challenges we still do not know in detail and for which we wrestle with one another or in solitude. "

The meaning of Ballauff's language and thought is widely debated. Often his work is described as an example of the educational jargon of the 1950s and 1960s, in which missing precise statements were replaced by profundity with a lot of incense . More recent publications, on the other hand, identify him as a thinker who had considered essential statements of the philosophical postmodernism in advance and wanted to express his own thoughts in a comprehensible way, which led him to the limits of linguistic possibilities.

Publications (selection)

  • About the concept of ideas in Kant, Berlin: Verlag für Staatswissenschaften und Geschichte, Berlin: Dissertation 1937 (in the book trade as Philosophical Investigations, Issue 5, 1938)
  • About the transcendent problem in contemporary philosophy , Berlin: Habilitation thesis 1943
  • The basic structure of education . Beltz Verlag, Weinheim / Bergstrasse 1953
  • The science of life. A history of biology . Volume I: From Antiquity to Romanticism . Orbis academicus series Volume II / 8. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1954
  • Adult education. Sense and limits . Quelle and Meyer Verlag, Heidelberg 1958. 2nd edition 2008 Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler. ISBN 978-3-8340-0377-5
  • Systematic pedagogy. A foundation . Quelle and Meyer Verlag, Heidelberg 1962, 3rd, revised edition 1970. ISBN 3-494-00013-1
  • Philosophical foundations of pedagogy. The question of the origin and level of education . Duncker and Humblot Verlag, Berlin 1966.
  • Skeptical didactics . Source and Meyer Verlag, Heidelberg 1970. ISBN 3-494-00615-6
  • Pedagogy. A History of Education in 3 Volumes. Orbis academicus series, Volume I / 11–13. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg / Munich
  • Pedagogy as educational teaching . Haag and Herchen Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1986. 4th edition from the estate ed. by Andreas Poenitsch and Jörg Ruhloff. Cutter. Hohengehren publishing house, Baltmannsweiler. ISBN 3-89676-833-6
  • On the history of occidental education. In: Winfried Böhm , Martin Lindauer (ed.): “Not much knowledge saturates the soul”. Knowledge, recognition, education, training today. (= Third Symposium of the University of Würzburg. ) Ernst Klett, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-12-984580-1 , pp. 49-70.
  • Theodor Ballauff - pedagogy of the "selfless responsibility of the truth" . Edited by Jörg Ruhloff and Andreas Poenitsch. Juventa-Verlag, Weinheim 2004. ISBN 3-7799-1901-X

Literature (selection)

  • Pedagogical assignments 1991. Festschrift for Theodor Ballauff on his eightieth birthday . Edited by Jörg Ruhloff and Klaus Schaller. Academia-Verlag, Sankt Augustin 1991. ISBN 3-88345-673-X
  • Helmut Heim: The educational theory foundation of pedagogy in Theodor Ballauff's work . Deutscher Studien-Verlag, Weinheim 1993. ISBN 3-89271-444-4
  • Christiane Thompson: Independent thinking. The philosophical place of the educational teaching of Theodor Ballauffs . Leske and Budrich Verlag, Opladen 2003. ISBN 3-8100-3969-1
  • Rudolf M. Kühn: Theodor Ballauff - Revolutionary educational way of thinking. A portrait . Lang Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. u. a. 2007. ISBN 978-3-631-56001-3
  • Henrik Eberle: The Martin Luther University in the time of National Socialism. Mdv, Halle 2002, ISBN 3-89812-150-X , p. 365

Web links


  1. Under this title, which summarizes what Ballauff understood by education, Jörg Ruhloff and Andreas Poenitsch published a cross-section of his writings in 2004 with an introduction to his work.
  2. Systematic Pedagogy 3rd ed. P. 12.
  3. ^ Pedagogy as educational theory, pp. 163, 164, 167 f. Further explanations on this by Jörg Ruhloff and Andreas Poenitsch in their “Introduction: Theodor Ballauff - Work and Life” to the book “Theodor Ballauff - Pedagogy of the 'selfless responsibility of truth'” .
  4. in "Erziehungswissenschaftlichen Revue" 4 (2005) No. 3