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A Glimpse Into the Past

Liturgics as an independent discipline is relatively new in Bonn: it was established in 1965 under the terms of the 2nd Vatican Council. Prof. Dr. Otto Nußbaum (+ 1999) was the first chairholder (1965-1988). Following him was Prof. Dr. Albert Gerhards (1989-1988), who was essential in refining the image of liturgics. Currently, Prof. Dr. Andreas Odenthal leads the department and has done so since 2018.
The beginnings of Liturgics in Bonn had its beginnings well before the founding of the University in 1818, but primarily in the time of the first electoral University in Bonn (in the second half of the 1800’s). At that time Liturgics was taught within the space of pastoral theology as a practical theological discipline and conformed to the ideas of the Catholic Enlightenment. By the time of the founding of the current University, the importance of Liturgics as a discipline was well-known, but due to  increasing restorations of the time, it did not receive its own department. However, within the priesthood seminars of Cologne, Liturgics was becoming more and more juridified and being studied as liturgy. After the turmoil caused by the battle of cultures around the end of the century, liturgics began to feature in different contexts, whereby the two strands of the discipline, the pastoral and historical, became clearly apparent.
Notable professors of the faculty have represented liturgics. For example, Heinrich Kellner, Franz Joseph Peters, Franz Josef Dölger and Theodor Klauser. Romano Guardini all served for short times as Privatdozents in Bonn (in the discipline of dogmatic theology), and from the philosophy department, the well-known historians of liturgics such as Heinrich Goussen and Anton Baumstark. During this time of liturgical movement, connections to Kloster Maria Laach, one of the centers for liturgical innovation, played a role.

After the Second World War, Theodor Klauser in particular rendered outstanding services to liturgics in Bonn. He was also a teacher of Otto Nußbaum, who forged a path into this newly established research area within historical studies. With the new regulations, liturgics was finally classified in its own right within most practical theology departments, whereby the historical-theological discipline is still being maintained. 

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