Sándor Berde (1856–1894), the Forgotten Theologian


This study presents the life and activity of Sándor Berde (1856–1894). Berde was born in a little village in Seklers’ Land. He studied in and graduated from the Reformed College of Nagyenyed (Aiud). He continued his studies in Vienna, Jena and Basel. He became an adherent of the liberal theology having a predilection for scientific results instead of the old religious teachings. During his studies in Jena, he specialized himself in New Testament theology. After his return to Transylvania, he became the missionary minister of the parish in Kackó (Câţcău). Eight other villages belonged to his parish. The Hungarian population lived very scattered in this area, continually diminishing in number. So the minister was in a very difficult situation. In 1889 Berde took the private-docent-exam at the Nagyenyed Theological Academy. This was the period of the foundation of the Reformed Theological Faculty of Kolozsvár (Cluj). So the Church Council elected Berde as a professor of the Faculty in Kolozsvár, and sent him temporarily to teach at Nagyenyed. This was a very unpleasant situation. He taught there New Testament for four school years being much appreciated by his colleagues and the students. He died of tuberculosis. Though he was the very first professor of the Faculty of Kolozsvár, he is never mentioned as such in historical works. He is mostly appreciated as the father of his children: one daughter became a novelist, the other a painter; the youngest son was a famous dermatologist.

Bibliographic reference

Gaal György: Sándor Berde (1856–1894), the Forgotten Theologian. In: Református Szemle 111.3 (2018), 306--336