Adolf Von Harnack

Authored by: George Newlands

The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782173
eBook ISBN: 9780203387856
Adobe ISBN: 9781136677922


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Adolf von Harnack was one of the greatest historians of Christian life and thought. Today he is remembered chiefly for his monumental History of Christian Dogma (Harnack 1894–99), and also for his firm support for German aspirations in World War I. Harnack represents, it is often thought, the clearest indication of the bankruptcy of modern liberal theology. Yet events like the delivery of the annual Mildred Fish-Harnack Lecture on Human Rights in the University of Madison-Wisconsin should perhaps alert us to a much more nuanced view of the Harnack intellectual legacy. Mildred was the only American citizen to be executed by the Nazis for civilian resistance to Hitler, along with her husband Arvid Harnack and his cousin Ernst, son of Adolf von Harnack. Harnack's daughter Agnes, an early champion of feminist causes, was also associated with liberal opposition to Hitler, as part of the circle around Martin Niemoeller in Berlin-Dahlem.

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