Tibor Fabiny

Tibor Fabiny

University Professor, Literary Historian, Director of the Center for Hermeneutical Research

ἐγὼ αὐτὸς ἄνθρωπός εἰμι (ApCsel, 10,26)

Homo is a common name to all men (WS)

Nos sumus poiema Dei. Ipse Poeta est (ML)

"Stick to your principles, honor others as made in the image of God, believe you not have all the truth, and lighten up" (Mark Noll)

Welcome to my website!

Professor of Literature and Hermeneutics
Károli Gáspár Reformed University (KRE)
Professor, Department of English Studies
Hungarian Scientific Works Repository (MTMT)
National Doctoral Council (NDC)
Head of the Hermeneutical Research Centre (HKK)


Family - Church - University - Public Life


My father was a Lutheran pastor and later became a Professor of Church History at the Lutheran Theological Academy. My mother was a school teacher. My wife is a teacher of French; our elder son works for the EU and our younger son for an Ecumenical Aid Organization in Hungary.

I am a member of The Lutheran Church in Hungary, in “critical solidarity” with the life of my church. Though I was brought up as a “p-kid” in a Lutheran pastor’s household and was encouraged to enter also into ministry, I had reservations on two grounds: first, my faith then, I said, was not strong enough for such a commitment. On the other hand, I had a distaste towards the subservient attitude of my church leaders to the Communist state. During the years I studied humanities at the university (1974-1980), I was more attracted to liberal Christianity and humanism, both as a person and an intellectual, and thus my links with my own church gradually loosened, if not faded away. However, due to various new and unexpected influences, I decided to pursue theological studies between 1983-1986. The discovery of the Word in Scripture led me to the affirmation of the necessity of the church. At the same time, I never gave up my claim to see clearly, i.e. my critical attitude concerning phenomena I see problems in my church. My reintegration into my own church was triggered by reading the Autobiography of Bishop Lajos Ordass (1901-1978), who was removed from his office during Communism. I was deeply inspired by his attitude, which I called the “Symbol of Steadfastness” in several of my articles and books both in Hungarian and in English. In 1988, I became the founding member of the Ordass Lajos Friendship Circle (OLBK) and was one of the founding editors of its quarterly Keresztyén Igazság (Christian Truth) between 1989-1992. Presently, I am a member of the board of the Ordass Foundation (http://www.ordass.hu/). Within the framework of these societies, I became involved in the painful exploration of the dark side of my church’ history during Communism.

I served as general inspector of the Buda-District between 2006-2012. My involvement of the renewal of our church coincided with my encounter with the sermons of Bishop Lajos Turóczy (1893-1975), which I then also edited in a Hungarian publication. I am also on the board of Túróczy-hagyaték Alapítvány (Foundation for the Legacy of Turóczy). (http://www.turoczy.lutheran.hu). I occasionally preach in my small local Budakeszi Lutheran Congregation, which has now a grand project of building her own church (http://www.evangelikustemplom.hu). Apart from being in critical solidarity with my own Lutheran church, I am open to dialogue in the spirit of American church historian Mark Noll: “Stick to your principles, honor others as made in the image of God, believe you do not have all the truth, and lighten up.”

Beyond the family and the church my further referential context is the university. I have studied English, Library Sciences and Comparative Literature at Eötvös Lóránd University where I graduated in 1980. 'I taught early English literature at the University of Szeged (then Attila József University) between 1980-1994. I was invited to organise and chair the English Department of the newly founded  Pázmány Péter University where I taught until 2007. That year I became full time professor of English literature at Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary where I have been the leader of the Center for Hermeneutical Research since its foundation in 1993.  I was also employed as a Professor of English Studies at the University of Presov, Slovakia.With various scholarships and invitations I taught pursued research at several Western European and North American Institutions of Higher Education.  I am interested in the theological and philosophical aspects of the relationship between the church and the academia (university) with a special attention of the question of identity of church-related or Christian insitutions in Hungary, Europe and in North America. I publised some articles concerning this issue and am planning to continue this research.

The activity in public life has not been my priority so far. I am not a member of any political party, I am not a „public personality”. However, as a Christian I am concerned with the  relationship of faith and politics and that of the church and the state with special attention of the attitude of church leaders during Communism.  I am not only a citizen of Hungary but a part of the Hungarian nation as a community and I see the church as the „conscience of the state” (Ordass). „We must be provincial in order to be universal said the Canadian litarary critic Northop Frye, a scholar who influenced me. Moreover, it is my Christian conviction that in the public sphere we should recognize the situation of confession (status confessionis) and  that in such cases we should speak up even if making ourselves vulnerable or risking our existence, an attitude which is called parrhesia by the authors of the New Testament. Luther, Milton’s Abdiel, Jonathan Edwards, or Bishop Ordass are my models of this  „deonological” attutitude.