Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

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The Age of Enlightenment

In the 18th century the University went through a period of modernization. Course content was systematically rethought, and the extent of State supervision increased. The effects first became obvious in the Medical Faculty, which was subjected to a methodical reform by the Elector’s personal physician, Johann Anton von Wolter. However, the early stage of modernization in Ingolstadt is associated above all with Johann Adam von Ickstatt, who was installed as Director of the University by the Elector Max III Joseph in 1746. In light of Jesuit opposition, Ickstatt decided to focus his efforts on restructuring the Law Faculty, leaving the Jesuit-dominated Faculties essentially undisturbed.

The suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773 gave the signal for the reform of the Faculties of Theology and Philosophy. However, in view of the relative lack of qualified alternatives, some of the vacant posts were filled by ex-Jesuits. Their tenure was destined to be short, as these professorships were assigned to the so-called Prälatenorden (Benedictines, Cistericians, Augustinian Canons and Norbertines) in Bavaria only eight years later. However, when Maximilian von Montgelas became First Minister upon the accession of the new Elector Max IV Joseph, he did his best to counteract the influence of the religious orders by promoting men with undoubted Enlightenment credentials to faculty positions at the University.

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