Curriculum Vitae


Knud Ottosen


I was born in the small village of Hoptrup in Sønderjylland (North Slesvig) on 6 April 1937. My father, Johan Ottosen, was the general practitioner of the village. My mother was Dagmar Regitze Honnens de Lichtenberg. In 1956 I passed the Upper Secondary School Leaving Examination (studentereksamen) at the nearby ‘Haderslev Katedralskole’ (Haderslev Cathedral School) and in the same year I enrolled as a student of theology at the Faculty of Theology, University of Aarhus. During my 7 years of study I concentrated on systematic theology (prof. K.E. Løgstrup) and Church History (prof. P.G.Lindhardt). Inspired by prof. Lindhardt, I chose church history as my special study (Moravian influence on Funen 1800-1850, printed in 1964). I regard P.G. Lindhardt as my first teacher in the history of the church as well as in the history of liturgy.


After graduating from the University of Aarhus, I was employed at the Faculty of Theology as a junior lecturer from 1964 to 1965 and held a University scholarship at the Faculty from 1965 to 1967. In 1965 I entered the Faculty’s prize paper competition on the Manual from Notmark (edited 1970), for which I was awarded the Gold Medal, and subsequently I spent the entire year 1966 in Paris studying the history of medieval liturgy under the guidance of the director of the Institut supérieur de liturgie, P.-M. Gy, O.P.


In 1967 I obtained permanent tenure at the Faculty of Theology, University of Aarhus, as an assistant professor (amanuensis) in ancient and medieval church history, and from 1972 as an associate professor (lektor).


P.-M. Gy encouraged me in 1970 to take over a comprehensive material concerning the Medieval Latin Office of the Dead in order for me to try to computerize it. The project required computer programmes capable of handling not only pre-formulated tasks but also problems occurring when work was in progress. Thanks to the director of the Computer Centre at the University of Aarhus (RECAU), Bjarner Svejgaard, the technical side of the project fulfilled all the requirements involved and, in fact, even today represents some of the most advanced techniques applied to such a corpus of data. The results of the treatment of more than 2,000 series of responsories from offices of the dead can be seen in my book The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead from 1993, for which I was awarded the D.D. degree (dr.theol.).


From 1 August 1999 to 31 January 2000 I received a scholarship from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities to study the possibilities, by means of modern technology, to take up the exploration of our fragments of parchment from the Middle Ages. Until 1999 nobody had been able to establish the origin of any of our more than 10,000 surviving fragments from medieval books. These books were cut up and re-used as bindings around fief-accounts in the 16th and 17th centuries, now at The Danish National Archives in Copenhagen. I managed to locate a number of fragments with certainty to be of Danish origin.


From February 2001 to January 2002 I held a senior scholarship at The Danish Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, which enabled me to carry on with my work on our Danish medieval fragments in Copenhagen. The immediate result of this was the establishment of the present homepage, which makes it possible for me to edit my findings in a quick and cheap way for a worldwide audience. Later, so is my plan, I will produce a more traditional edition of my texts.


The edition of the liturgical texts has been somewhat postponed because, during my work, I came across a number of fragments at The Danish National Archives that were not even registered. In agreement with the Director of the Danish National Archives, dr. phil. Johan Peter Noack, I began to register these fragments in collaboration with Michael H. Gelting. In all I have registered 666 fragments and, in addition, 236 fragments at the Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein. Inventories of these collections can be seen under New Inventories in the left margin of this homepage. The two final portions will be published in 2006. Press down the Ctrl button and click on the respective code to see pictures of the fragments in question.


I retired from office July 2004 in order to dedicate my-self full time to liturgical studies.


In June 2006 I published a church history in Danish and Nordic perspective covering the early- and medieval period. The title of the book is: Oldtidens og middelalderens kirkehistorie i dansk og nordisk perspektiv, Books on Demand GmbH, København 2006, 360 pages, 299 DKr (ISBN 87-7691-078-4).



November 2006


Knud Ottosen