The University Before Humboldt and After

  • Jürgen BackhausEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Economics book series (BRIEFSECONOMICS, volume 89)


In this article, I want to explore the alternatives to the picture of the university Humboldt presented. Obviously, there was a counter picture, because Humboldt’s reforms needed something that was to be reformed. Take the University of Erfurt, which was founded in 1378 and which Humboldt dissolved in 1816, as there were only half as many students as professors at the time. The University he closed was one of the oldest in Germany, founded in 1378, and it is an experience that is primetime in the early renaissance, with Luther for instance proclaiming, if you want to study well, study in Erfurt. Paracelsus had studied in Perugia, one of the oldest European Universities, and he was appointed a professor at the city of Basel, as no university would tolerate his teachings and his abominable Latin. This gives us a hint to university reform looking back, as teaching was also made possible at the university level outside the university. Note this as point 1.


Library System Lecture Hall Professorial Performance Promising Prospect Bologna Process 
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  1. Frey, B. S. & Eichenberger, R. (1999). The New Democratic Federalism for Europe. Functional, Overlapping and Competing Jurisdictions. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  2. Steiner, R. (1919). Die Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage. (The Crucial Points of the Social Question) Rudolf Steiner Online Archiv 4th ed. 2010. Accessed 7 May 2015.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics, Law, and Social Sciences, Krupp Foundation Chair in Public Finance and Fiscal SociologyUniversity of ErfurtErfurtGermany

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