This is the first of several posts that will review Dr. Detering’s life and scholarship according to the available material on- and offline. It is carried out from afar and in an admittedly impromptu manner. I invite readers to add data, links, or corrections—simply send me an email with the information and I will consider adding it to the CV. The Wikipedia article (German here) is a good place to begin, and Detering’s own brief VITA in German is on his website here.
These posts are deceptively short. However, they are dense with links that offer the interested reader avenues to explore a good deal of material.
If possible, I would like to add a personal impression of Dr. Detering’s character, work, and family life. Any reader who knew Hermann personally, and for some length of time, is invited to email me his/her impressions which I will review and certainly consider uploading.
To ca. 2005
Hermann Detering was born in 1953 in Oldenburg, Germany. In college he studied Germanistik, Classical Philology, and Theology in Berlin. Thereafter he married and was the father of four children.
1982-2009. Detering worked as a pastor in Berlin.
1991. He received his doctorate under Walter Schmithals (1923–2009), noted New Testament scholar and Pauline specialist. Detering’s dissertation was on the Dutch Radical School of New Testament Criticism.
1992. Detering’s dissertation is published in German. (Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus? Die Paulusbriefe in der holländischen Radikalkritik = “Pauline Epistles without Paul? The Epistles in Dutch Radical Criticism,” Frankfurt: Peter Lang. German table of contents here [PDF].)
1992. Article, “Der erste Clemensbrief und die Ignatianen in der Holländischen Radikalkritik.” Detering reviews the pertinent Dutch Radical scholarship and analyzes the many points that refute the authenticity of 1 Clement (12 points) as well as of the Ignatian letters (8 points). In arguing against authenticity, Detering leaves no text standing. For those who do not read German, an informative 2013 English review of these topics by Detering is furnished on Peter Kirby’s website, entitled “A Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems Regarding Paul.”
1995. Detering’s second book, Der gefälschte Paulus, Urchristentum im Zwielicht (Patmos Verlag; reissued 2018). The book was edited and translated into English in 2003 by Darrell Doughty (The Fabricated Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight). Detering propounds theses previously advanced by A. D. Loman (1823–1897), W. C. van Manen (1842–1905) and G. A. van Eysinga (1874–1957): (a) all the Pauline epistles were products of the second century and only then attributed to Paul; (b) mentions of Pauline epistles in the First Epistle of Clement and in the letters of Ignatius are late interpolations; (c) originally, the epistles derive from Marcion (c. 150 CE) and were subsequently expanded by the Church; (d) many hands were responsible for the Catholic expansions and adaptations, which is why numerous internal contradictions exist in the epistles; (e) the figure of Paul is legendary—Marcion invented it based on the figure of Simon Magus, whom the Church vilified as the Father of Gnosticism and an arch-heretic. (M. Hoffman has written an informative and extensive review of this book in English.)
1996. Hermann Detering, “The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles” (Journal of Higher Criticism 3/2, Fall 1996, pp. 163-193).
Detering becomes a member of the Committee for the Scientific Study of Religion.
2000. Detering begins his website www.radikalkritik.de.
2000. Detering’s second entry in the Journal of Higher Criticism: “The Synoptic Apocalypse (Mark 13/par): A Document from the Time of Bar Kochba” (50 pp). This article helps date the New Testament to the second century. (PDFs: English, German, Czech.)
2000. “Die Gegner des Paulus im Galaterbrief” (article).
2003. “The Original Version of the Epistle to the Galatians—Explanations,” translated by Frans-Joris Fabri (English PDF, 94 pp).