Werner H. Schmidt

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Werner H. Schmidt (born June 9, 1935 in Mülheim an der Ruhr ) is a German Protestant theologian and professor emeritus of the Old Testament .


Schmidt received his doctorate in 1960 with a thesis on the kingship of God in Ugarit and Israel , four years later he completed his habilitation with a study on the creation story of the priestly scriptures . Rolf Rendtorff and Hans Walter Wolff are his theological teachers . After a brief activity as a lecturer in Mainz , he was appointed to the chair for the Old Testament in Vienna in 1966. In 1969 he was called to Kiel , 1978 to Marburg and finally 1984 to Bonn , where he remained until his retirement in 2000. In Bonn he was also director of the Institute for Hermeneutics .

Well-known writings are his two textbooks, Introduction to the Old Testament and Old Testament Faith , which have accompanied generations of theology students.

Schmidt was or is u. a. Co-editor of the Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament , the Biblical-Theological Studies series and the journal Faith and Learning .

Scientific work

Since his dissertation, Schmidt has sought to combine issues of the history of religion and theological issues. An important concern of his is to work out what the biblical scriptures have in common and thus to arrive at a “center” of the Old Testament, which he finds in the “exclusivity of faith”, as it is most clearly shown in the first (and second) of the Ten Commandments pronounces.

Schmidt is one of the most prominent advocates of the newer document hypothesis , which assumes that the Five Books of Moses consist of several originally independent sources and editorial additions. He particularly seeks to prove the appropriateness of this hypothesis in his Exodus commentary.

Another research focus is prophecy , especially the prophet Jeremiah . In his first publication in 1973, Future Certainty and Criticism of the Present , he tries to show that the prophetic announcement of the future is not the result of an insight into the prevailing conditions of the respective present, but that the prophetic criticism of the present (especially the social and temple criticism) is the insight into the coming calamity arises. According to Schmidt, the prophets do not proclaim a warning to repent , but rather they want to awaken insight into the future.

Schmidt's proof that the book Amos was revised deuteronomistically (1965) is also significant . His publication later inspired Winfried Thiel to examine and delimit the Deuteronomistic editing of the Book of Jeremiah .


  • Introduction to the Old Testament . 5th, exp. Edition. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-11-014102-7
  • Old Testament Faith . 11., rework. and exp. Edition. Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 2011, ISBN 978-3-7887-2560-0
  • Kingdom of God in Ugarit and Israel . 2., rework. Edition. Töpelmann, Berlin 1966 (Supplements to the Journal for Old Testament Science 80)
  • The creation story of the priestly scriptures. On the transmission history of Genesis 1,1–2,4a and 2,4b – 3.24 . 3rd, through Edition. Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 1973, ISBN 3-7887-0054-8 (WMANT 17)
  • Future certainty and contemporary criticism. Studies on the Nature of Prophecy . 2., ext. Edition. Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 2002, ISBN 3-7887-1892-7 (BThSt 51)
  • Exodus, Sinai and Moses . Darmstadt 1983 (EdF191), 3rd edition 1995
  • The first commandment . Kaiser, Munich 1970 (theological existence today 165)
  • The Ten Commandments in Old Testament Ethics . Darmstadt 1993 (EdF 281)
  • Exodus
    • Volume 1. Exodus 1–6 . Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 1988, ISBN 3-7887-0421-7 (Biblical Commentary 2.1)
    • Volume 2. Exodus 7.1-15.21 . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-7887-3394-0 (Biblical Commentary 2.2)
  • Diversity and Unity of Old Testament Faith I – II. Neukirchen-Vluyn 1995
  • The deuteronomistic editing of the Amos book. On the theological differences between the prophetic word and its collector. In: Journal for Old Testament Science . 77 (1965) pp. 168-193
  • The Book of Jeremiah. Chapters 1–20. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-51243-2 (ATD 20) (see also W. Thiel, Evangelische Theologie 68 (2008) 473-478)
  • The Book of Jeremiah. Chapters 21-52. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-525-51206-7 (ATD 21)
  • Jeremiah's proclamation in its unity - elements of the context. In: M. Helmer, CG Müller (ed.): “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord” (Ez. 34,7.9). Festschrift Bernd Willmes. Freiburg, Herder 2017, ISBN 978-3-451-37722-8 (Fuldaer Studien 21), pp. 97–113.
  • The question of a “center” of the Old Testament. In: Evangelical Theology. 68 (2008) pp. 168-177.
  • "That kills and brings alive". Elements of biblical theology. In: Evangelical Theology. 69 (2009) pp. 432-443.
  • Biographical. In: S. Grätz, BU Schipper: Old Testament science in self-portrayals. (UTB 2920), Göttingen 2007, pp. 196-207.
  • The Old Testament in the Bible. In: Evangelische Theologie, 71 (2011) pp. 84–99.
  • God's work and the actions of man. To understand the Old Testament and its meaning for the Christian faith . Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 2014, ISBN 978-3-7887-2805-2 (BThSt 147)
  • Memories . epubli, Berlin 2020, ISBN 978-3-7529-4029-9 .
  • A basic distinction in faith: the work of God and the act of man . CMZ-Verl., Rheinbach 2020, ISBN 978-3-87062-336-4 .

Secondary literature

  • Hartmut Löwe: A look from outside the subject on the Old Testament scholar Werner H. Schmidt , in: Stefan Beyerle u. a. (Ed.): Many ways to the one , Neukirchener Verlagsges., Neukirchen-Vluyn 2012, ISBN 978-3-7887-2537-2 (BThSt 121), pp. 109–115.
  • Winfried Thiel: On the literary oeuvre of Werner H. Schmidt , in: ibid., Pp. 117–132.

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