Jan Liguš - Featured author - EJT
Professor Dr Ján Liguš is chairperson of the Department of Practical Theology, Ecumenism and Communication at the Hussite Theological Faculty, Charles University, Prague. His article “Master Jan Hus – Obedience or Resistance” appears in the April 2015 issue of European Journal of Theology.
Article Summary - Master Jan Hus – Obedience or Resistance This paper focuses on Master Jan (John, Johannes) Hus (1371-1415), the Czech theologian and reformer who was condemned to death by the medieval Roman Catholic Church and burned at the stake in Constance on July 6, 1415, that is 600 years ago this year. We will look at the theme of ‘obedience or resistance’ in his life and work from several sides: after a sketch of his time and some biographical data, we review the church’s situation at the time of Hus and his struggle. We describe his stay in Southern Bohemia and his treatment at Constance; finally, we look at Hus’ main theological emphases including his personal understanding of vocatio interna et externa.
Ján Liguš was born on July 2, 1941, in the village of Pstrina, in the district of Svidník in Eastern Slovakia. Between 1955 and 1958 he attended high school in Svidník but in 1958, three weeks before the final graduation examinations, he was expelled from the school for religious reasons and was not allowed even to work in Slovakia. In the period 1958-1962 he worked in the Vitkovice Steelworks in Ostrava and from 1959 till 1962 as a coal miner in the mine Red October in Ostrava, Moravia.
From 1962 until 1967 he studied theology at the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty in Prague and completed the theological studies with honours. In 1967 and 1968 he was assistant pastor in the Brethren Church in Moravia, where he met his wife Daniela Dobešová- Ligušová.
At the recommendation of the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty and the Church of the Brethren, and thanks to a favourable political situation, he undertook postgraduate studies in theology at Oxford University (UK) in 1968-1969. Thanks to Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer´s brother-in-law, he was able to study for several months at the Church College in Wuppertal, Germany; ever since that time he has been working with the Internationale Bonhoeffer Gesellschaft in Germany.
On returning to Czechoslovakia, he could not get a state license for ministry for political reasons; only after more than two months of negotiations he was finally given the state permit as a preacher of the Church of the Brethren. In 1970 he married Daniela and they have three children: Jan, David and Noemi. Between 1969 and 1987 Liguš was the pastor of three different congregations in the Church of the Brethren: In northern Bohemia in the town of Ústí nad Labem (1969-1972); then in southern Bohemia in the town of České Budějovice (1972-1979), where in 1972-1973 he undertook external studies at the high school in Czech Budejovice and so completed the graduation examination; his last full-time congregation was the Church of the Brethren in Prague 5 (1979-1987).
Doctoral studies at the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty in Prague in 1979-1982 resulted in the completion of a dissertation on the topic Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ecclesiology with Respect to Martin Luther’s Theology. In 1987-1988 Liguš started to work at the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty in Prague and in the summer of 1988 he spent two months at the European Translation Centre in Straelen, Germany; in the same year, he received an invitation from the Christian Church of Disciples of Christ in Indianapolis to teach as a visiting professor in the USA. As a result, in 1989-1990 he lectured on East European Theology and on Bonhoeffer at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, at the Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Lexington Theological Seminary, Eastern Kentucky, and North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago. Many Americans tried to persuade him and his family to stay permanently in the USA but Liguš refused the offers for family reasons.
In 1991 Liguš became a tutor in practical theology at the Hussite Theological Faculty of the Charles University in Prague. In 1992 he participated in the Bonhoeffer Conference at Union Theological Seminary in New York. In 1993 he defended his habilitation thesis on the topic Linguistics and Hermeneutics in Theology and that same year was appointed associate professor in Communication and Linguistics at the Charles University.
In the period 1993-1998 he was acting as a Vice-Dean for science and international relations, and he paid visits to Germany (Universities of Frankfurt, Heidelberg and Munich) and to Wheaton College in the USA, where he lectured on the situation at the theological faculties in the Czech Republic after the fall of the communist regime and the mission of the Christian Church in the newly formed democratic society. In 2000 Liguš was appointed professor of systematic philosophy. In 2000-2006 he twice served as Dean of the Hussite Theological Faculty and in that capacity he strengthened the cooperation with German theological faculties such as Heidelberg, Munich, Regensburg and Dortmund. At the same time he was still a part time preacher in the Church of the Brethren in Prague, but since 2005 he does not have a congregation any more. (However, he still preaches occasionally, wherever he is invited.) From 1996 onwards Liguš is the chairperson of the Department of Practical Theology, Ecumenism and Communication at the Hussite Theological Faculty of the Charles University.
In 1993 the Czechoslovak Republic was divided into two states, the Czech and the Slovak Republics. In response, leaders of the Church of the Brethren in the Slovak Republic wanted to establish an Evangelical School of Theology at the Slovak University of Mathias Belli in Banská Bystrica. The University then required someone to act as the habilitated guarantor for the study programme in Evangelical Theology at the Faculty of Education, and Liguš was asked to take this role. It had long been his desire that the pastors of all evangelical churches (United Methodist, Baptist, Apostolic, The Church of Brethren and others) would receive university education. He acted as guarantor until 2013, whilst continuing his roles in Prague – a difficult double role! He is grateful to God and to his Daniela for their support in these demanding years.
Of their three children, son Jan (1974) is an engineer in Computer Science; David (1991) is still studying, whereas their daughter Noemi (1976) is an assistant professor of theology. Noemi has two boys so Jan and Daniela Liguš are also grandparents.
MEMBERSHIPS OF SCHOLARLY ORGANISATIONS - Professor ThDr. Ján Liguš, PhD
Scientific Board of the Charles University in Prague - Hussite Theological Faculty; in 2000-2006 Chairman of the Scientific Board (as Dean of the faculty)
2006-2012 Scientific Board of Charles University in Prague, since 2012 an honorary member
2000 Association of Evangelical Theologians in the Czech and Slovak Republic
1993 Member of Doctoral Board at the Hussite Theological Faculty, and since 2000 at the Protestant Theological Faculty of the Charles University 1988 until now: cooperation with Internationale Bonhoeffer Gesellschaft in Germany and the Netherlands; 1985-2000 also with the British and American sections
2005 until now: member of the International Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Society at the Constantine Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia
2006-2008: member of the committee for the preparation of the 10th World Congress on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which was held in Prague in July 2008
Deus Semper Maior [selection of sermons from the years 1993 to 2005 in the Church of the Brethren in Prague 1, ed. by Noemi Bravená] (Prague, 2007) 179 pp.
‘Kierkegaard as a philosopher and theologian. Problem paradox as a bridge between philosophy and theology’ in Purity of heart (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Faculty of Arts, Slovakia, 2007) 63-78
Theological Assumptions of Social Work. Methods, Theories and Theological Disciplines, editor Martin Pientak (Silesian Lutheran Evangelical Church in collaboration with the University of Ostrava, 2008) 61 pp.
CHRISTUS PRAESENS. Ecclesiology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer between Liberalism and Nationalism, Edition Deus et Gentes, Vol. 10 (Brno: L. Marek, HTF UK in Prague, 2008) 180 pp.
‘Die Gegenwart der Religion im Leben der Kinder. Neuere wissenschaftliche Diskussion über religiöse Entwicklung der Kinder’ in Zdeněk Kučera und Jiří Vogel (eds), Gespräche über Gott (Martin Verlag, 2009) 42-63
Instructional Systematic-Theological Reflections on the Christian faith in God, Dogmatics 1, 2nd edition (Banská Bystrica: Matthias Belli University, Faculty of Education, Department of Evangelical Theology and Missions, 2010) 192 pp.
Theological Systems (Banská Bystrica: Matthias Belli University, Faculty of Education, Department of Evangelical Theology, 2010) 210 pp.
‘Rezeption des Bonhoefferschen religionslosen Christentums in der Tschechoslowakei nach dem Jahr 1948’ in Florian Schmitz und Christiane Tietz (Hrsg.), Dietrich Bonhoeffers Christentum. Festschrift für Christian Gremmerls (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2011) 381-385
Linguistics and Hermeneutics in Theology (Banská Bystrica: Matthias Belli University, Faculty of Education, Department of Evangelical Theology, 2012) 81 pp.
Biblical Hermeneutics (Banská Bystrica: Matthias Belli University, Faculty of Education, Department of Evangelical Theology, 2012) 185 pp.
‘Women’s Ministry in the Christian Church’ in Theological Review [Hussite Theological Faculty, Charles University in Prague] 83.4 (2012) 479-491
‘Secularization and the Prognosis of the End of Religion in the 19th and 20th Century’ in Theological Review 85.1 (2014) 11-49
Co-author of Preaching in the Context of Tradition and Presence. A Study of Homiletics (Brno: L. Marek: Charles University in Prague, Hussite Theological Faculty, 2014); his contributions are on pages 15-39, 47-89, 115-131, 163-181, 186-195, 262-266