History and Profile

Since its inception in 1945 by Karl Ludwig Schmidt, the Theologische Zeitschrift has been the leading journal for the academic study of Protestant Theology in German-speaking Switzerland. The majority of its subscribers are located outside of Switzerland, representing every continent.

From the outset, the Theologische Zeitschrift aimed to bring the (increasingly specialized) subfields of theology into an interdisciplinary conversation with each other. For this reason, particular emphasis was placed on publishing essays from every subfield of theology, which Karl Barth playfully described as the "Noah's Ark/Zoo concept." At the same time, it was hoped that the essays would transcend the boundaries of their respective subfields and establish thematic connections with other subfields. Interdisciplinary bridges to other academic fields outside of theology were also – and continue to be – welcomed. Finally, the publication of essays by members of the Faculty of Theology in Basel or of lectures that were held here was intended to provide a representative view of the work carried out in Basel's Faculty of Theology. In line with this aim, contributions from the field of Religious Studies have also been more strongly represented since the establishment of a chair in Religious Studies in Basel.

Continuity in the journal's profile has been achieved by the editors' long terms of office. For example, the Old Testament scholar Klaus Seybold held this office for 24 years and oversaw the publication of 96 issues of the journal. In 2004, the role of editor was handed over to Prof. Hans-Peter Mathys (until 2015) and then to Prof. Reinhold Bernhardt. From 2018 to 2020 the journal's editors were Prof. Sonja Ammann and Prof. Ueli Zahnd. Since 2020, the Theologische Zeitschrift is edited by Prof. Sonja Ammann and Prof. Georg Pfleiderer. Beginning with volume 61 (2005), the design and layout were changed in order to make the journal aesthetically more attractive. The quality of the journal's contents is ensured by a process of peer review, which can result in the rejection of articles that do not meet the journal's standards or in a request to rework an article. Ensuring the quality of the journal's contents is the editors' highest priority.

The longstanding quality of the contributions in the Theologische Zeitschrift is reflected in the consistency in the number of subscriptions (around 500). In addition to these subscriptions, we participate in a journal exchange with around 50 other theological faculties and other institutions, providing them with a free copy of the ThZ and receiving in exchange a free copy of their periodicals for our library. The ThZ is also supported financially by the Swiss Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences (SAWG). In addition, around 50 copies of each issue are sold individually. The total circulation of the journal currently stands at 675 copies – a significant number for an academic theological journal. 

The Theologische Zeitschrift seeks to appeal to all audiences with an interest in the academic study of theology and a desire to keep abreast of current discussions and debates; this includes academics, pastors, students, as well as others with an interest in theology.