The Theological Journals Of Germany -- By: Caspar Rene Gregory

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:136 (Oct 1877)
Article: The Theological Journals Of Germany
Author: Caspar Rene Gregory


The Theological Journals Of Germany1

Caspar Rene Gregory

The periodical organs of theological science necessarily share in the prosperity or ill-fortune of theology itself. They are in this respect like the attendance upon, or the attention paid to, theological studies at the universities, only that they speak more distinctly. Their bearing and the influence they wield mirror the healthful or diseased condition of theological life and work within given periods of time.

Leaving out of consideration the papers which serve at the same time the practical interests of various churches, it may be said that scarcely any scientific theological sheet in Germany enjoys at present a brilliant or even a satisfactory and comfortable position. This is a like sign of the times with the lack of theological students, a lack much grieved over, but hard to remedy. Almost every turn of the year announces the suspension of one or other of the journals which have existed for years. Occasional appeals for help in gaining new subscribers have long been part of the indispensable measures for every publisher of such journals, but probably none of them secure an increase that more than covers expenses.

The cause of this phenomenon can scarcely be sought, as a general thing, in a want of editorial skill or of ability on the part of the contributors. The existing journals, without distinction as to theological party, all enjoy an intelligent guidance. It is not likely that one of those already suspended was compelled to cease its activity because of a lack of suitable literary matter.2 Indeed, those which now have almost reached the verge of possible existence, must complain rather of excess than of want of able contributions. This is clearly seen in the facts, that articles, even of very direct application to the times, often appear to be much delayed, and that, as for the critical and bibliographical part, scarcely any editor is in a position

to keep pace with the more important new issues. If to this be added the consideration that the last two or three years have seen the founding of no less than five new theological journals, some of them on an important scale, we shall almost be tempted to think that a superabundance rather than a lack of productive living power is the cause of the generally unfavorable circumstances and prospect of this class of literature.

We shall first take up these new productions of theological journalism. They all belong, as might be expected, to the evangelical theology and church. It is true that a review has been announced as to begin at Innsbruc...

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