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EKD Head Theologian Receives Honorary Doctorate in Münster

October 19, 2010

Münster (epd) On Tuesday, the president of the Church Office of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Hermann Barth, and the chair of the council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Thomas Wipf became doctors honoris causa of the University of Münster. The two church officials were awarded the honorary doctorate in theology by the Westfälische Wilhelms University.

In his address, Barth paid tribute to the Alemannic poet and theologian Johann Peter Hebel (1760-1826) whose 250th birthday is being commemorated this year. Hebel, he said, in his recounting of biblical stories, expressly relied on the Luther translation of the Bible. As a result, his stories have become the "gold standard for Protestant churches and the language of faith,"  because familiarity with the Bible is at the very nucleus of Protestant piety, said Barth.

The Church Office president defended Hebel against certain critics who claimed that his aphorisms are not based on specifically Christian ideas, but merely generally established wisdom. "What is thought and experienced in the antechamber of belief may not be dismissed simply as 'diluted faith'," Barth warned. A head-on invitation to faith will not necessarily be well-received. Rather, patience needs to be exercised and the dialog initiated gently. The indirect, suggestive approach is often much more effective than "blunt directness," the Church Office's head theologian explained.

October 19, 2010

EKD Press Release and Full Text of the Address




 


 

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