The Sources of the theological liberalism of Albert Kovács (1838–1904)

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The sources of Albert Kovács’ (1838–1904) theological freedom must be analysed in order to understand his theological thinking and determine his place in liberal theology, especially on the wide palette of its Hungarian representatives. In this study, I explore the origins of the influences that impacted him in his childhood, during his theological studies in Transylvania and abroad, that could have shaped his thinking. His childhood years in Mezőbánd were characterised, on the one hand, by the devotion of his family towards the church and, on the other hand, by the indelible imprint of the declining ecclesiastical crisis. During his school years, he became acquainted mainly with the ideology of rationalism, which laid the foundations for his later liberal theological orientation. During his studies in Utrecht and Göttingen, he encountered liberal, mediating and orthodox positions. Upon his return, he came under the influence of the radically liberal Mór Ballagi (1815–1891). Although this clearly set him on the liberal side, his orientation did not preclude the use and application of ideas taken from representatives of confessional theological schools that he has got acquainted with abroad.