About the Conference


On 4 October 1914, 93 prominent German intellectuals famously published a Manifesto appealing to the ‘civilized world’ to recognize Germany’s war effort as a noble case of self-defence reluctantly undertaken in the service of cultural superiority. It emphatically (but incorrectly) rebuffed Allied allegations about German war crimes during the recent invasion of Belgium. Among the signatories were some of the greatest scholars in the sciences and humanities, including numerous Protestant and Catholic theologians of diverse orientations. The consequences for international cultural and academic exchange were significant, and 120 British scholars soon responded with a public counter-statement prominently noted in the New York Times.

This interdisciplinary conference in Oxford marks the centenary of this Manifesto, bringing together British, German, and American historians, ethicists, and theologians to re-examine the signatories’ intentions in view of the document’s historical setting, the meaning of its appeal to ‘culture’, and the role played by theological motivations.

Conference Poster

Keynote Speakers:

  • Nigel Biggar, University of Oxford
  • Mark Chapman, University of Oxford
  • Thomas Albert Howard, Gordon College (Boston)
  • Wolfram Kinzig, University of Bonn
  • Anthony F. Lang, University of St Andrews


Markus Bockmuehl, University of Oxford
James Carleton Paget, University of Cambridge
Mark Chapman, University of Oxford

Date: 19 September 2014
Venue: The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities, Radcliffe Humanities Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, OX2 6AD, Oxford


Oxford Logo TORCH Logo

The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH),  University of Oxford
Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford