Church historian, patrologist, Byzantinist; b. Herbitzheim, Alsace, March 14, 1862; d. Bonn, Germany, Sept. 23, 1940. After his ordination in 1885, he studied at the University of Würzburg, where he became a friend of Hermann schell, receiving his doctor's degree in theology in 1888. After further studies in Munich and Rome, he was appointed professor of Church history at the Grand Seminaire in Strasbourg (1889). In 1892 he was made professor of Church history at the University of Würzburg. He taught at Vienna (1898), Freiburg im Breisgau (1902), the University of Strasbourg (1903), and the University of Bonn (1920–27). Ehrhard's special interest was the editing of the sources of theology, hagiography, and homiletic literature of the Greek Churcḥ Forschungen zur Hagiographie der griechischen Kirche (1897); Die altchristliche Literatur und ihre Erforschung seit 1880 (1894); "Geschichte der byzantinischen Theologie," in K. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur (2d ed. 1897) 37–218. The continuation of his main work, Ueberlieferung und Bestand der hagiographischen und homiletischen Literatur der griechischen Kirche (3 v. 1936–52), was made possible by the discovery of his MS after World War II [see J. M. Hoeck, "Der Nachlass Albert Ehrhards und seine Bedeutung für die Byzantinistik," Byzantion 21 (1951) 171–178].
Ehrhard's critical presentation of the history of the Church contributed to the creation of a new concept of ecclesiastical history. The advance toward precision took form in his teaching and in such publications as Stellung und Aufgabe der Kirchengeschichte in der Gegenwart (1898), Des Mittelalter und seine kirchliche Entwicklung (1908), Die Kirche der Märtyrer (1932), Urkirche und Frühkatholizismus (1935), Die griechische und die lateinische Kirche (1937).
He was also a theologian. A concern with the task of the Church in modern society issued in Der Katholizismus und das 20. Jahrhundert (1901; 12th ed. 1902), in which he aimed to relate the tradition of Catholic belief to modern outlooks in philosophical, historical, and social sciences. Opposition to it appeared in conservative circles, where he was accused of modernism, a charge that he answered in his Liberaler Katholizismus? (1902) and Katholisches Christentum und Kultur (1907). Since he did not hesitate to criticize the papal encyclical Pascendi, he was deprived of the title of domestic prelate, although it was later restored.
Bibliography: h. leinen, "Ehrhards Abschiedsvorlesung," Academia 40 (1927) 13. b. altaner, Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft 61 (1941) 459–464. a. dempf, Albert Ehrhard: Der Mann und sein Werk (Colmar 1944), with bibliog. j. quasten, Deutsche Literaturzeitung 76 (1955) 490–493.