DÖLLINGER, JOHANN JOSEPH IGNAZ VON, 1799-1890.
MANUSCRIPT NUMBER 126
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CITATION: Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger Letter, MSS 126, Archives
and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger was a German Catholic church historian and theologian. He was born February 28, 1799 in Bamberg, Bavaria, and died January 10, 1890 in Munich. His part in the rise of the German Catholic Church against the authority of the Catholic Church at Rome colors his career as teacher and scholar of theology and ecclesiastical history and his role as a member of the Frankfurt Parliament.
Döllinger's career in theology and church history began when his father, a professor of medicine at the University of Bamberg, obtained for him a teaching position in canon law and church history at the lyceum of Aschaffenburg. In 1826, while at the lyceum, Döllinger published his first work, "Die Eucharistie in den dreiersten Jahrhunderten." This well-respected treatise launched his career, earning for him a position on the theological faculty of the Bavarian University of Landshut and a position on the theological faculty at Munich, both in 1826. Döllinger was well-regarded in the German and British academic and ecclesiastical communities and by German royalty, receiving various distinguished appointments, offices, and honors e.g., a canonry in the royal chapel from the king in 1839; provost of canons in 1847; representative to the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848; royal councillor to King Louis II of Bavaria in 1868; president of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and general conservator of the scientific collections of the State in 1873.
Döllinger's life was not without controversy. In the 1830s,
he became involved in the dispute over mixed marriages. Döllinger
and his Munich friends became ardent supporters of Catholic rights which
alienated him from Guido Gorres and his friends. The German theologian
widened the gap between himself and the Gorres circle when, as a result
of his opposition to the Jesuits and the Roman Curia, he became a supporter
of a national Catholic Church, independent of Rome. Döllinger's
opposition to the authority of the Catholic Church eventually led to his
break with it and its excommunication of him in 1871. The dogma of
Papal Infallibility, proclaimed on July 18, 1870, played an important role
in the rupture of Döllinger's relationship with the Church.
Döllinger wrote this letter on December 26, 1882 in response to
a request from the editor of The Nineteenth Century: a Monthly Review that
he supply an article on E.B. Pusey for the publication. Dollinger declined,
saying that his knowledge of Pusey's theological view was "fragmentary."
He remarked on comments about Pusey's contribution to the Church of England
that he had made recently in a letter to Gladstone and on his own theological
differences with Pusey on the subjects of the Athanasian creed and the
practice of confession. Döllinger also explained that Henry
Parry Liddon was writing a life of Pusey and encouraged the editor to delay
any critical review of Pusey until after the publication of that work.
He concluded his letter by recommending a Dr. Geffken, professor at the
University of Strassburgh, as someone who might be interested in contributing
to The Nineteenth Century. The letter was written eleven years after
Döllinger's excommunication from the Roman Catholic church.