News | 15. Sep. 2018

In memory of Prof. Dr Rudolf Schieffer

*31 January 1947 in Mainz, †14 September 2018 in Bonn

The Monumenta Germaniae Historica are mourning the loss of our retired president Rudolf Schieffer, who died yesterday unexpectedly after a short illness at the age of 72.

Rudolf Schieffer was president of the MGH from 1994 to 2012. His whole scholarly life and work was closely tied to the Monumenta, beginning in 1975 when he followed Horst Fuhrmann's invitation to come to Munich and work as a research assistant. His first task was that of continuing and completing the critical edition of the ninth-century letters of Archbishop Hinkmar of Reims, which had already been begun in the 1930s by Ernst Perels. It was only most recently, that Rudolf Schieffer successfully brought the second volume of Hinkmar's Epistulae to publication. His enduring occupation with this author encompassed the edition of his De ordine palatii together with Thomas Gross in the series MGH fontes iuris in 1980 and the publication of a further substantial volume of Hinkmar's letters and writings in 2003, also published by the MGH. His post-doctoral thesis "Die Entstehung des päpstlichen Investiturverbots", submitted at the University of Regensburg, appeared in the prestigious series "Schriften der Monumenta Germaniae Historica" in 1982. By 1980, Rudolf Schieffer had already left Munich to return to his home city of Bonn in order to assume the professorial chair for Medieval History there. He remained, however, closely associated with the Monumenta, continuing his work on his edition project, assiduously reviewing books for the Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, and returning to Munich every spring and summer to work in the institute's library - the best holiday imaginable, as he was wont to say.

In 1983, Rudolf Schieffer was elected to membership in the central board of directors of the MGH and finally followed in the footsteps of Horst Fuhrmann as President of the MGH in 1994. At the same time, he assumed the duties of editor in chief of the Deutsches Archiv together with Johannes Fried, a task which was most dear to him. Although much engaged with conferences and commissions, he always took pains to personally proof-read the many manuscripts of editions, monographs and articles which had been submitted before they went to print. Late in the evening, when the lights were still burning in the reading room, one could be sure that it was Rudolf Schieffer sitting over the text of one of the many lectures which he held with unabated enthusiasm, or correcting manuscripts for publication.

After his retirement, Rudolf Schieffer returned to Bonn, but his engagement in writing short, precise book reviews for the Deutsches Archiv continued much the same. In the last years of his life, he also pursued his work on the edition of Hinkmar's letters with great zeal, the completion of which he was unfortunately not to see.

The Monumenta Germaniae Historica will preserve and honour his memory.

Martina Hartmann