Report: German Reform leader at center of ongoing scandal plagiarized his dissertation

Published date22 February 2023
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
That's according to a new investigation into Walter Homolka published this week in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper

More than 60 pages of Homolka's 240-page dissertation, "From Essence to Existence. Leo Baeck and Religious Identity as a Problem of Continuity and Change in liberal Jewish and Protestant Theology," consisted of verbatim translation of a German scholarly article – pages 43 to 106, according to the newspaper.

The doctoral dissertation at Kings College London did not include attribution or acknowledgment of the author, the Protestant German theologian Dorothee Schlenke. Only in 1994, when Homolka published his dissertation as a book in English and German, did he explicitly thank Schlenke, now a professor at the University of Education in Freiburg, the newspaper reported.

Kings College London removed public access to the dissertation the day that a reporter asked Homolka's attorney about allegations of plagiarism, the newspaper reported.

Those allegations were among the long-simmering criticisms of Homolka that burst into public view after a different newspaper, Die Welt, published a blistering report last May about Homolka's leadership at the Abraham Geiger College, the liberal seminary he founded in 1999, two years after he was ordained in a private ceremony.

Following the report's revelations of a possible coverup and abuse of power by Homolka, both the University of Potsdam, which houses the seminary, and the Central Council of Jews in Germany initiated investigations. Homolka, who has vigorously contested all accusations, has since stepped back from virtually the Jewish institutions in which he played a formative role.

In its investigation report, released last October, the university said it had not found evidence of criminal...

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