Der Fall Hirscher

© Ferdinand Schöningh

The pastoral and moral theologian Johann Baptist Hirscher (1788-1865), who taught at the universities of Tübingen and Freiburg, was one of the most renowned and most contested theologians of his time. His attachment to the Church was questioned again and again – even by the Roman authorities, who investigated the theologian in eight proceedings and placed two of his works on the Index. This volume offers a chronological account of these Roman proceedings, then presents an analysis of each text and its creation. The primary question is “Where is Hirscher to be located within the transition from the Enlightenment to Romanticism?” While his treatises on liturgy suggest alignment with the late Enlightenment, his catechetical and moral theological works are clearly inspired by the aspiration to overcome the rationalism of the Enlightenment. Research on Hirscher has not yet explained this discrepancy successfully. This study analyses the Roman censors' reports and related correspondence as well as the contemporary reviews of the works investigated in Rome. These sources make it clear that Hirscher was not considered an "Enlightener" in his time, that his theology of the liturgy can be explained as a genuine implementation of his theology of the Kingdom of God and that Hirscher's determined opponents should be attributed less to ultramontane theology and more to the political lay Catholicism of Baden.

Norbert KÖSTER, Der Fall Hirscher. Ein »Spätaufklärer« im Konflikt mit Rom?, Paderborn et alibi 2007, 467 pages, hardcover, ISBN: 978-3-506-75732-6.