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1880 – 1965
Chairman of the Society for Christian Art
Wilhelm Neuß was born in Montabaur on 24 July 1880 and grew up in Aachen. From 1899 to 1902 he studied theology and art history in Münster, Munich, Bonn and Freiburg im Breisgau. On 24 August 1903 he was ordained as priest and later became curate in St. Alban’s Church in Cologne. In 1905 he was a religion teacher at the Cologne Ursuline School. Neuss wrote his dissertation in 1911 on the topic “The Book of Ezekiel in Theology and Art till the End of the 12th Century with Special Consideration of the Painting in the Church of Schwarzrheindorf”. In 1913 he wrote his post-doctorate thesis on “Catalan Bible Illustration at the Turn of the First Millennium”. In 1917 he became an associate professor of Church History at the University of Bonn. From 1923 to 1965 he was chairman of the “Society for Christian Art in the Archbishopric of Cologne (and the Bishopric of Aachen)” and thus, also of the museum board. In 1927 he assumed a teaching position for Medieval and Modern Church History as well as the History of Christian Art. In 1934/35 he co-edited the “Studies on the Myth of the 20th Century” (“Antimythus”) of five anonymous authors, among them also Wilhelm Neuss, which undertook a critical examination of the race ideology of Alfred Rosenberg. Cardinal Schulte prohibited this publication originally because he feared the possibility of termination of the Reich Concordat. But Münster Bishop Cardinal van Galen declared himself willing to include the “Studies” as a contribution to the Cologne Office Magazine (Amtsblatt). In all, around 200,000 copies of the “Studies” were published. In 1936 Neuss became non-resident curate of the Cologne Cathedral. From 1935 to 1954 he was the chairman of the Society for the Publication of the Corpus Catholicorum. Neuss became an emeritus in 1949. On 4 January 1953 he became a Papal House Prelate. Wilhelm Neuss died in Bonn on 31 December 1965.
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