o.Univ.-Prof. i.R. Dr. Wilhelm Pratscher

Schenkenstr. 8-10

A-1010 Wien

Phone: +43-1-4277-32501

Fax: +43-1-4277-9325


Office hours

Consultation by appointment

Curriculum Vitae

  • Born 1947 in Redlschlag (Burgenland)
  • 1966-1972 Protestant Theology Studies in Vienna, Erlangen and Heidelberg
  • 1973 Doctorate in Vienna. Assistant at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the Universität Wien
  • 1975/76 first year of vicariate
  • 1985 habilitation in Vienna
  • 1988 assistant professor in Vienna
  • 1989/90 second year of vicariate and ordination
  • 1991/92 stand-in professor in Hamburg, 1995/96 in Bonn
  • 1996 university professor in Bonn
  • 1998 university professor in Vienna

Research Focus

  • History of Early Christianity (Pratscher, Öhler)
  • Apostolic Fathers
  • Apologists


History of Early Christianity

The discipline ‘History of Early Christianity’ tries to oversee the collectable data about Early Christianity, interrogate its historical credibility and combine it to an overall picture. It is closely connected to the disciplines ‘Introduction to the New Testament’ and ‘Theology of the New Testament’ but isn’t primarily concerned with the development of literature and theology but with the community. Behind it stands the question of the sociocultural environment, which has had a manifold impact on the history of the early church and has led to quite different forms of communities. In this context, a greater paper about the Late Period of the New Testament is to be published: The dispute with adversaries in the late works of the New Testament. The development of the majority church’s identity to a large degree followed its dispute with divergent doctrines. Which ones those were and how the dispute in the late works of the New Testament were conducted, is going to be covered by a monography.

Publications (selection):
  • Pratscher
    • Die Stabilisierung der Kirche als Anliegen der Pastoralbriefe, in: StNTU, Ser A 18, 1993, S. 133-150.
    • Das Christentum in Syrien in den ersten zwei Jahrhunderten, in: P. Haider – M. Hutter - S. Kreuzer (edd), Religionsgeschichte Syriens. Von der Frühzeit bis zur Gegenwart, 1996, S. 273-284. 405f. 457-459.
    • Paulus und das Judentum: WJTh 3, 2000, S. 199-208.
  • Öhler
    • Barnabas. Die historische Person und ihre Rezeption in der Apostelgeschichte, WUNT 156, Tübingen 2003

Commentary to the Second Epistle of Clement

The Second Epistle of Clement is traditionally considered to be the oldest delivered Christian sermon and preserved in only three, partly incomplete manuscripts. It is counted among the so-called Apostolic Fathers and has proven to be a controversial document in many respects. There are various professional opinions about the time and place of its origin as well as the authorship, its structure, literary character, used sources, theological and religio-historical references and its theological interpretation in general. A lot of times, the epistle is harshly criticised because of its ‘substantial justification by works’ (Vielhauer). The liberating message of the gospel seems only to be present in an odd fraction. Lately, judgements that severe have receded for good reason. The epistle seems to represent a form of Christianity, which is trying to be orthodox while barely theologically creative and seems to be in conflict with dangerous adversaries without being able to rest upon a developed office structure.
The project consists of an elaboration of a commentary, which is going to be publishes in the series ‘Kommentar zu den Apostolischen Vätern’ (KAV). It is not about a text edition but about an exhaustive depiction of problems that concern the discipline of introduction as well as a continuous commentary of the text especially.

Publications (selection):
  • Soteriologie und Ethik im Kontext von Eschatologie und Schöpfungslehre in 2. Clem 1, in: M. Evang - H. Merklein - M. Wolter, Eschatologie und Schöpfung. Festschrift für Erich Gräßer zum siebzigsten Geburtstag, BZNW 89, 1997, S. 261-274.
  • Das Gottesbild des Zweiten Klemensbriefes, in: U. Körtner – R. Schelander (edd.), Gottes Vorstellungen. Die Frage nach Gott in religiösen Bildungsprozessen. Gottfried Adam zum 60. Geburtstag, 1999, S. 361-378.
  • Das Geistverständnis des 2. Klemensbriefes im Verhältnis zu dem des Neuen Testaments, in: Wiener Jahrbuch für Theologie 3, 2000, S. 37-50.
  • Begründungen der Paränese. Ein Beitrag zum Selbstverständnis der Kirche nach dem 2. Klemensbrief, in: Wiener Jahrbuch für Theologie 4, 2002, 81-95.
  • Die Wettkampfmetaphorik im 2. Klemensbrief, in: Wiener Jahrbuch für Theologie 5, 2004, 51-65.


The volumes Quadratus and Kerygma Petri are commented in the commentary series ‘Kommentar zu frühchristlichen Apologeten’ (KfA). In 123/24 or 129 A.D., the apostle student Quadratus, who presumably worked in Asia Minor and was identified by Hieronymus as the identically named later bishop from Athens by mistake (Vir Inl19 passim), passed an apology to Caesar Hadrian, from which only a fragment (Eus KG 4,3,1f) is preserved. It relates to the witnesses of Christ’s works, especially from the still living healed and raised from the dead. The Kerygma Petri has only been preserved in fragments (by Clement of Alexandria) as well. It was written in the first half of the second century. It deals with the appropriate worship of God in order to distinguish it from Jewish or pagan concepts as well as with the death and resurrection of Jesus.