The Age of Enlightenment

Maximilian von Montgelas did his best to ensure that protagonists of enlightened ideals were appointed to vacant professorships. This statue of Mongelas is the work of Karin Sander. Made of milled aluminum, it was unveiled on Promenadeplatz in 2005. | © HRSchulz/imago images

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 with Johann Adam von Ickstatt, who was appointed Director of the University by the Elector Max III Joseph in 1746. Faced with Jesuit opposition, Ickstatt focused his restructuring efforts on the Faculty of Law, leaving the Jesuit-dominated Faculties undisturbed.

The suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773 opened the way for the reform of the Faculties of Theology and Philosophy. However, owing to 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 re-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 acknowledged Enlightenment credentials to faculty positions at the University.