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THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY IN 25 SECTIONS

 

Faculty of Theology      (2011 >)

As early as 1928, 14 years before the foundation of the Faculty of Theology, there were a number of students who had registered for Theology as their course of study. They received tuition in Hebrew and Elementary Greek from local people with the appropriate abilities (a secondary school master and a librarian from the State Library) and otherwise followed the course of study for Propaedeutic Philosophy. There was no question of a theological education in the proper sense. A private education in Theology was established four years later, led by the Dean of the Diocese and employing learned local priests as teachers. Teaching was financed by three local savings banks and took place in university classrooms. The students had to sit their exams in Copenhagen, with all the problems that this entailed, such as having no previous acquaintance with the examiners. Demand grew for the establishment of a proper, fully-approved course with examination rights, until 1938's successful persuasion of the government to finance a Senior Associate Professorship in Hebrew. At the same time, the right was granted, but not the funds, to appoint a Professor of New Testament Exegesis. Aarhus Municipality stepped in with the necessary funds (until the state took over in 1941), and the two subjects were introduced within the Faculty of Arts. A vacancy for the Senior Associate Professor in Hebrew's post provided the opportunity to redesignate the post as Senior Associate Professor in Old Testament Exegesis, and when this was filled in 1942, the two theological teachers constituted the Faculty of Theology. At this point there were 70 students of Theology at the university, and the faculty grew quite quickly from that time, making it possible to take the full final examinations in Theology for the priesthood. In 1947 the faculty conferred its first doctoral degree.

From the end of the 1930's until the new main building on Nordre Ringgade was ready for occupation, Theology held court in the basement of a departmental building that had been newly built for the subjects of Physiology and Biochemistry (commonly known as "Fy and Bi"). Here the Theological Library was set up, which also functioned as the Theological Lecture Theatre. It was also here that the first Theological final examinations were held in circumstances of deepest secrecy in the winter of 1944/45. (During an examination elsewhere in the city shortly before this, a law student was liquidated by the Danish Resistance Movement, and there were fears of reprisals). In 1999, after half a century's residence in the main building, the whole faculty moved into new premises on the northern side of Nordre Ringgade in renovated buildings which had been home to the Orthopaedic Hospital since 1938. A lecture theatre building has been built on the same site, primarily for the use of theologists.

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Theology students deep in study, ca. 1942, in the basement area allocated to Theology in the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry. (Photographer unknown. University History Committee).