Kurt Aland

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Kurt Aland
Kurt Aland

Kurt Aland (28 March 1915 – 13 April 1994) was a German Theologian and Professor of New Testament Research and Church History. For many years he was head of the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (Institute for New Testament Textual Research) and the principal editor of the Nestle-Aland edition of Novum Testamentum Graece (Greek New Testament).



Aland was born in Berlin-Steglitz. From 1933 he studied theology at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin. On the 23rd of March that year, he was examined before the Bruderrat (council of brothers) in the Bekennende Kirche (Confessing Church). During his studies, he worked for the journal of the Confessing Church, Junge Kirche (Young Church). In an ideological brochure, Wer fälscht? (Who is lying?), written against Mathilde Ludendorff, he confirmed the position of the Confessing Church and identified with them. In 1939 he studied for his bachelor's degree under the guidance of Hans Lietzmann. In 1940 he was released from military service; and in 1941, after Lietzmann's death, he took over the responsibilities of editing the theological magazine. He graduated in this same year, and in 1944 was ordained as minister of the parish of Berlin-Steglitz.

After World War II, Aland became a lecturer in the theological faculty of the Humboldt University of Berlin. In 1947 he was appointed Professor ordinarius in Halle (Saale).

Aland disapproved of the marxist government of East Germany, and was persecuted as a result. In 1953 he was accused of smuggling watches to West Berlin and kept under arrest for three months. Several times Aland spoke out publicly against various forms of state oppression directed at Churches, and demanded freedom of speech in East Germany. In July 1958, he lost his job at the university. However, in September that year, he successfully escaped to West Berlin. In 1959 became a professor at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. Here he founded the "Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung", which he directed until 1983. He died in Münster, Westfalen in 1994.


  • Kirchengeschichtliche Entwürfe: Alte Kirche - Reformation und Luthertum - Pietismus und Erweckungsbewegung. 1960.
  • "Bibel und Bibeltexte bei August Hermann Francke und Johann Albrecht Bengel". In Pietismus und Bibel, [=AGP 9], 1970, 89-147.
  • with Barbara Aland, Der Text des Neuen Testaments: Einführung in die wissenschaftlichen Ausgaben sowie in Theorie und Praxis der modernen Textkritik, 1982, 1989.
  • Text und Textwert der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, 3 volumes, 1987 ff. [=Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung]

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