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Ernst Benz Papers

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Benz, Ernst, 1907-1978.
Title: Ernst Benz Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1929-1978
Quantity: 1.75 linear ft.
Abstract: German theologian. Collection consists primarily of published writings, also a small amount of of manuscripts and memorabilia.
Language: Primarily German, with a few items in English, French, Japanese and Italian
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

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.

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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.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by type or title.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 3 May 2010
Revision history: 20 Nov 2013 - processed (MRC)

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Box 1 Die heilige geist in Amerika [The Holy Ghost in America], Eugen Diederichs Verlag before 1970 - typescript with extensive corrections, emendations, annotations, additions, etc.
Box 1 Neue Religionen [New Religions], Taschenbuch Ausgabe before 1971 - typescript with extensive corrections, emendations, annotations, additions, etc.
Box 2 Ernst Benz: Wie ich ihn sehe und verstehe [Ernst Benz: As I see and understand him], by F. W. Kantzenbach 1977
Box 2 Photographs 1957, 1963, 1964, 1967 - candid photos of Benz in Japan, India; portrait photos from Marburg
Box 2 Thesis defense announcement, Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität 1931
A majority of the items in this series are offprints or reprints of articles or essays that appeared in scholarly journals. In many cases, the item's cover bears the title of the journal (for example, Zeitschrift für Religions- und Gesitesgeschichte) rather than the title of the article; note that 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.
About Benz and his work
Box 2 Bibliographie Ernst Benz 1928-1966 [Bibliography of Ernst Benz 1928-1966], excerpted from Glaube, Geist, Geschichte: Festschrift für Ernst Benz zum 60. geburtstage am 17. November 1967 by Gerhard Müller and Winfried Zeller 1967
Box 2 Book reviews and publicity 1969-1971, undated
Christian theology
Box 2 Christian theology 1942-1959 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • Die religiöse Lage in der Ukraine: Erlebnisbericht eines Divisionspfarrers, 1942
  • "Weltgeschichte, Kirchengeschichte und Missiongeschichte," 1952
  • "Manilal Parekh: Christian Gandhi," 1957
  • "Kirchenbau im Fernen Osten" in Die Problematik des modernen Kirchenbaues, 1960
  • "Manilal Parekh, der Christliche Gandhi: Eine Autobiographie," 1959
  • "An introduction to Meister Eckhart," in The Otani Gakuho, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 4, 1959
  • "Die Wiederentdeckung der Meditation in der Modernen Religionswissenschaft und Theologie, Aus einem Brief" in Zeitschrift für Religions- und Gesitesgeschichte, Band XI, Heft 3, 1959
  • "Die Veränderung in der religiösen Weltlage," in Offene Tore: Beitrage zu einem neuen Christlichen Zeitalter, No. 5, 1959
Box 2 Christian theology 1965 - book chapter
  • "Ideas for a theology of the history of religion," in The Theology of the Christian Mission, edited by Gerald Anderson, McGraw-Hill, 1965, pp. 135-147
Box 2 Christian theology 1967 - book
  • Evolution and Christian Hope: Man's Concept of the Future, from the Early Fathers to Teilhard de Chardin, Gollancz, 1967
Box 2 Christian theology 1967-1971 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Il cristianesimo nella Societá di Domani," 1967
  • "Die stellung des Modernismus zur päpstlichen Autorität," [1969?]
  • "Der Mensch als Imago Dei," 1971 (2 copies)
  • "Die klause Egg und das Ende des Eremitentums," 1971
  • "Rudolf Otto als Theologe und Persönlichkeit," 1971
Box 2 Christian theology 1973-1975 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Sophia -- Visionen des Westens," 1973
  • "Christlicher Glaube und Parapsychologie," 1973
  • "Theologie der Evolution in 19. Jahrhundert," 1973 (2 copies)
  • "Die Farbe im Erlebnisbereich der christlichen Vision," 1974 (2 copies)
  • "David Friedrich Strauẞ," 1975
  • "Swedenborgs Lehre von der Pluralität der Welten," 1975
  • "The Contribution of Origen of Alexandria to an African theology," 1975
Box 3 Christian theology 1977-1978, undated - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Norm und heiliger Geist in der Geschichte des Christentums," 1977
  • "La littérature du Désert chez les Évangéliques allemands et les Piétistes de Pennsylvanie," 1978
  • "Protestantische Theologie und ökumenische Bewegung," undated
  • "Der Wandel in Christentum und Kirche," undated
  • "Das Verlorene und Wiederersehnte Paradies," undated
  • "Rufer zur Versöhnung und Einheit," undated
  • "Symbole der Unio Mystica in der Barock-Mystick," undated (3 copies)
Comparative religion, Eastern and Western
Box 3 Comparative religion, Eastern and Western 1951-1959 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Indische Einflüsse auf die frühchristliche Theologie," 1951
  • "Jenseits von Ost und West?", 1957
  • "The present meeting between Christianity and the Oriental religions," in East and West, Year VIII, Number 1, 1957
  • "Buddhismus und Christentum: Begegnung und Auseinandersetzung in Ceylon, Burma, Thailand und Japan heute," 1958
  • "Asiatische Jugend zwischen Christentum, Buddhismus und Kommunismus," 1959
Box 3 Comparative religion, Eastern and Western 1966, undated - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Teilhard de Chardin und Sri Aurobindo," 1966
  • "Meditation in östlichen Religionen und im Christentum," undated
  • "Parallel Entwicklungen im religiösen und geistigen Leben Japans und Deutschlands seit 1945," undated
Eastern religions
Box 3 Eastern religions 1958-1969, undated - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Vorwort," in Zeitschrift für Religions- und Gesitesgeschichte, Band X, Heft 4, 1958
  • "Die Diktatur des Harmoniums" / "Das Harmonium: Erfahrungen einer fernöstlichen Studienreise," 1959
  • "Nembutsu und Herzensgebet," 1960 (appeared in a dedicatory volume to Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki)
  • "Meine Buddhistischen Nachbarn: In Memoriam Fritz Mauthner und Leopold Ziegler," 1962
  • "Esoterisches Christentum," 1965
  • "Dialog mit dem Hinduismus," 1966
  • "In Memoriam" [Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki], 1967
  • "Buddhismus in der westlichen Welt," 1969
  • "Buddhismus der Gegenwart: Literaturverzeichnis," 1969
  • "Buddhistische Universitäten," undated
Box 3 Eastern religions 1962 undated - book chapter
  • "Zen-Klöster," in Höhlen - Klöster - Ashrams: Religiöse Gemeinschaften in Indien und Japan, Otto Wilhelm Barth Verlag, 1962, pp. 137-175
History of religion
Box 4 History of religion 1956-1961 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Ideen zu einer theologischen Sicht der Religionsgeschichte," 1956
  • "Ideen zu einer theologischen Sicht der Religionsgeschichte," 1960
  • "The theological meaning of the history of religions," 1961
Box 4 History of religion 1959 - book chapter
  • "On understanding non-Christian religions," in The History of Religions: Essays in Methodology, edited by Mircea Eliade, University of Chicago Press, 1959, pp. 115-131
Pagan and classical religions
Box 4 Pagan and classical religions 1929-1961 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Das Todesproblem in der stoischen Philosophie", 1929
  • "Westlicher und östlicher Nihilismus," [1948?]
  • "Kann Europa ser westlichen und östlichen Nihilismus überwinden?" in Europäische Zukunft, No. 1, 1949
  • "The Islamic culture as mediator of the Greek philosophy to Europe," in Islamic Culture: An English Quarterly, Vol. XXXV, No. 3, 1961
Box 4 Pagan and classical religions 1973-1978 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "The road of life: Report of a visit by a Navaho seer," 1973
  • "Des Recht auf Faulheit," 1975
  • Kosmische Bruderschaft: Die pluralität der Welten, Aurum Verlag, 1978
  • "La questione dell'influsso del pensiero Indiano sulla filosofia della religione della tarda antichita," undated
Religion, general
Box 4 Religion, general 1952-1967 - offprints, reprints, booklets, etc.
  • "Ökumene der Weltreligionen?", 1952
  • "Über die Schwierigkeit des Verstehens fremder Religionen: Erfahrungen und Betrachtungen," 1958
  • "Kirch und Kunst: Die Ökumene des Harmoniums," in Evangelische Welt, Jg. 13, Nr. 2, 1959
  • "Die Angst in der Religion," 1959
  • "Das Anliegen der Menschheit und die Religionen," 1962
  • "Obstacles to understanding other religions," in Relations Among Religions Today: A Handbook of Policies and Principles, pp. 101-104, 1963
  • "Offenbarung, Tanz und Nächstenliebe," 1965 (newspaper column, appeared in Sonntagsblatt as part IV of a series entitled "Eine Welt — Eine Religion?")
  • "Die Bedeutung der Religionswissenschaft für die Koexistenz der Weltreligionen heute," 1966
  • "Religionsgeschichte im Telefonbuch," 1966
  • "Perspektiven der religiösen Weltlage," in Evangelische Welt, Jg. 21, Nr. 12, 1967
Box 4 Religion, general 1971-1974
  • "Mensch und Mystik," 1971
  • "Die Säkularisierung des Christentums und die neuen Religionen," 1971
  • "Ergriffenheit und Besessenheit als Grundformen religiöser Erfahrung," 1972
  • "Über die Zukunft der Religion," 1972
  • "Die Bedeutung der Religionswissenschaft für die Koexistenz der Weltreligionen heute," 1974
Secular topics
Box 4 Secular topics 1961-1978
  • [Address honoring Sir S. Radhakrishnan, in German], 1961
  • "Address honoring Sir S. Radhakrishnan," 1962
  • "Einige Erinnerungen an Ernesto Buonaiuti," in Ricordi su Ernesto Buonaiuti, pp. 9-22, 1968
  • "Ordeal by Fire," 1969
  • "Drogen und übersinnliche Erfahrung," 1972
  • "Werden und Wandel des Kaisertums in Europa zwischen den Revolutionen 1789 und 1848," [1978?]
  • "Vision un Ekstase bei Dante," undated

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