Adolf von Harnack

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Adolf von Harnack

Adolf von Harnack (Tartu, Estonia, 1851 – Heidelberg, Germany, 1930) born in a Lutheran family was a German theologian, historian and the Rector of the University of Berlin. He traced the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on early Christian writers. Harnack began his teaching career at the University of Leipzig in 1874, the same year he received his Ph. D. degree. He wrote History of Dogma (1885) and for 29 years he was the editor of Theologische Literaturzeitung.

Adolf von Harnack was the foremost German proponent of a liberal theological program, and one of the most provocative and prolific theologians of his time. His influential studies of early Christianity and Christian dogma called for a historical-critical method, independent of meta-historical sources of authority, to extract the ‘timeless kernel’ of essential Christianity from the ‘husk’ of Church history. He distinctively promoted the absolute freedom of inquiry in theological studies and spoke out against speculative theology.[1]

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