Real Theological Encyclopedia

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An open volume from TRE

The Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE, ThRE) is the largest German-language book project in theology and religious studies at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. In 36 volumes, it comprises around 2000 mostly very detailed specialist articles from early Christianity to the 20th century. The first delivery appeared in 1977, the last in September 2004.


The Theological Real Encyclopedia is published by Verlag Walter de Gruyter and ties in with earlier specialist encyclopaedias that were written in the 19th century. The encyclopedia follows the tradition of the real encyclopedia for Protestant theology and church (RE), the third edition of which was last published in Leipzig from 1896 to 1913. Unlike in the old real encyclopedia, the theological questions are now dealt with in their entire ecumenical breadth and no longer in a singular Protestant perspective.

The TRE was responsible for a group of editors with fourteen members. The main editor was the former Brunswick regional bishop and church historian Gerhard Müller from Erlangen, up to volume 12 (1984) together with the former Bonn professor for practical theology Gerhard Krause .

In addition to the half leather edition, there is also a cheaper study edition (paperback and scaled down; without art print boards and folding cards, the paper quality of the individual parts shows differences):

  • Part I (Volumes 1-17), 1993, a total of 13602 pages.
  • Part II (volumes 18-27), 2000, a total of 8175 pages.
  • Part III (volumes 28–36), 2006, 7361 pages in total.

Bibliographical information

Study edition:

Theological Real Encyclopedia Online:

Overview of the volumes

Register volumes:

  • Register for volumes 1–17 . De Gruyter, Berlin 1990 (229 pages)
  • Claus-Jürgen Thornton: Register for Volumes 1–27 . De Gruyter, Berlin 1998 (504 pages)
  • Total register . 2 volumes. De Gruyter, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-020803-0 (1667 pages)

See also

Web links