My esteemed teacher, the religious studies scholar Karl Hoheisel, has died at the age of 73. He was a kind and friendly person who was always there for others, and at the same time he was an exemplary researcher and scholar who was always open for what were previously scantly considered research areas and methods. I first came into contact with him in 1983 as the individual who introduced me (along with my wife) to comparative religious studies at the University of Bonn. The enormous range of topics with which he was familiar, as clearly evidenced in the topics addressed by his many encyclopedia articles, allowed me to understand and apply religious studies with the greatest possible breadth.
When after many years I decided to pursue another doctorate, I had the privilege, as his last doctoral candidate, to profit from his enormous experience. Already showing signs of his illness, he still supervised me as if there was nothing in the world that was more important. As I grew beyond missiology and theology into religious studies and ethnology, he was able to share much with me from his wealth of experience. By the way, this same tradition has been continued by Hoheisel‘s successor, Manfred Hutter, who holds two doctorates, one in theology and another in secular religious studies (see: http://www.ioa.uni-bonn.de/abteilungen/religionswissenschaft/mitarbeiter/manfred-hutter). I recommend future religious scholars to study under him.
The outstanding religious studies scholar Gustav Mensching of Bonn had above all three students, Hans-Joachim Klimkeit and Karl Hoheisel in Bonn as well as Udo Tworuschka. Via Hoheisel (and Klimkeit) I found a connection with this tradition, as is documented by my adoption of Hoheisel’s definition of religion in Hitler’s War Religion (Vol. 1, pp. 64, 53-54, 399-400, 487, 457; additional references to Hoheisel pp. 19, 23, 30, 57, 70-72, 132, 137, 224-225, 232, 240, 505).
Together with the likewise recently deceased representative of political science and sociology, Manfred Funke (see the obituary at: https://www.thomasschirrmacher.info/archives/1654), Hoheisel enabled me to pursue my unusual topic, Hitler’s War Religion. As a result, I produced a dissertation in the sociology of religion which was the prerequisite for my sociology of religion professorship in Romania.
Karl Hoheisel (b. April 16, 1937 in Langendorf, County of Neisse, Upper Silesia; d. February 17, 2011 in Bonn)
1964 Licentiate in theology, Rome, after studies in philosophy, (Catholic) theology, and biblical and oriental languages (1964)
1971 Dr. phil., Bonn, after studies in comparative religious studies and ethnology
1965-1974: Research Associate and Assistant at the (Catholic) Anthropos Institute in St. Augustin near Bonn
1971-1974: Lecturer for comparative religious studies at the (Catholic) Philosophisch-Theologischen Hochschule St. Augustin (a philosophical and theological academy) near Bonn; work on professorial dissertation during this time
1974 Training: analysis/psychoanalysis
1974 Postdoctoral qualification in comparative religious studies, Bonn (Title of the professorial dissertation: Das antike Judentum in christlicher Sicht [Judaism in Antiquity from a Christian Point of View])
1974-1980: Work within the scope of a DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German Research Foundation, is Germany’s largest research funding organization) research program at the University of Bonn
1980-1995: Adjunct Professor at the University of Bonn
1981-1995: Research Associate at the F. J. Dölger Institut of the University of Bonn (an institute for the research of late antiquity), above all as editor and author of the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum (an encyclopedia of antiquity and Christianity)
Since 1988: Deputy Director of F. J. Dölger Institute
1995-2000: Professor for comparative religious studies, University of Bonn, most recently Director of the Religionswissenschaftlichen Institut (a comparative religious studies institute) as the successor of Hans-Joachim Klimkeit
2000-2007 Emeritus ibid.
Areas of Research:
- The history of Judaism, of early and modern Islam, and of all religions of classical antiquity
- The history of religion in modern Europe, in particular new religions and modern religious movements such as Freemasonry, New Age, occultism
- Psychology of religion
- Geography of religion
Editor of book series:
- Geographia religionum since 1985
- Studies in Oriental Religions since 1999
Editor of encyclopedias:
- Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum (an encyclopedia of antiquity and Christianity) since 1996
Special editor in the history of religion:
- Theologischen Realenzyklopädie (TRE, a theological encyclopedia) since 2000
List of publications & commemorative publications:
- Literature up to 2002 in a commemorative publication, pp. IX-XIX
- Manfred Hutter, Wassilios Klein, Ulrich Vollmer (eds.). Hairesis: Festschrift für Karl Hoheisel zum 65. Geburtstag. Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum Ergänzungsband 34. Münster: Aschendorff, 2002