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Ernst Benz Papers

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 3 May 2010

Biographical History

Ernst Benz (1907-1978) was an important contemporary German theologian and a leading Western authority on Eastern Orthodoxy. He studied classical philology and archaeology at Tübingen, earning his doctorate in 1929, and later expanded his studies to Protestant theology and various esoteric forms of Christianity. He became professor of ecclesiastical and dogmatic history at the University of Marburg in 1935 and in 1946 was appointed director of its Ecumenical Seminary; he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1973. He wrote more than 50 books and 500 articles on topics ranging from Buddhism to Stoicism to the Rosicrucians, including the well-known Beschreibung des Christentums (Description of Christianity), published in 1975.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ernst Benz Papers consists of manuscripts, memorabilia and writings.

Manuscripts contains heavily annotated typescripts for two of Benz's books on Christian theology published in the early 1970s.

Memorabilia consists of photographs of Benz, both candid and posed, in various locations; an article about Benz; and a flyer announcing Benz's thesis defense at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität.

Writings consists entirely of published material. The vast majority are in German and are offprints or reprints of articles and essays published in scholarly journals such as Zeitschrift für Religions- und Gesitesgeschichte or Kairos. Topics are primarily religious or theological, ranging from mysticism to early Christian theology to the religious situation in the Ukraine; there are also a small number of essays on secular topics.

In many cases, the item's cover bears the title of the journal rather than the title of the article; however, the inventory below gives the title of Benz's article or essay which may or may not appear on the cover of the item. Where an entire issue of a journal is present, rather than only one article, the inventory gives the full volume and issue information.There are also several books by Benz, or to which he contributed a chapter.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by type or title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Benz, Ernst, 1907-1978.


Church history -- Historiography.
Hinduism -- Study and teaching.
Mysticism -- Germany.
Philosophy, German -- 20th century.
Religion -- 20th century.
Religion -- Historiography.
Religion -- Study and teaching.
Theology -- 20th century.
Theology -- Historiography.
Theology -- Study and teaching.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.


Church historians.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Ernst Benz Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ernst Benz, 1969-1978.

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