Honory doctorates 2002

Dr. H. A. (Henri) Poels

Honorary supervisor Magister Dr. F.N.M. Weve - 1947 –Faculteit Economische Wetenschappen

Henricus Andreas Poels (Venray, 1868 - Heerlen, 1948) was born into a well-to-do farming family in the North Limburg town of Venray. After studies at the seminaries in Rolduc and Roermond, he was ordained a priest at the age of 23. After further studies in Leuven in biblical science, he received his PhD in theology

Mgr. dr. H. Poels

He was destined to become Professor of Biblical Studies at the major seminary of his diocese but was suspected of modernist sympathies. Between 1904 and 1910, Poels was Professor of Exegesis, at the Catholic University in Washington DC. In the Netherlands, he was passed over for professorships, and things did not work out well in America either. He was dismissed, after an article in which he challenged (not for the first time) the belief prevalent in Roman Catholic theology that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. He argued that those books must have been written by multiple authors and edited well after Moses' time.

Forty years later, incidentally, Poels' beliefs were widely accepted in Catholic circles. His next role was that of chaplain in the mining region. Social life in Limburg was organized by Poels and his followers according to a strict Catholic hierarchical-clerical model. He stood at the cradle of government-supported housing associations and community centers.

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