In the year 1968, a group of historians directed by Walter BRANDMÜLLER (*1929) and by Remigius BÄUMER (1918-1998), Ordinary Professors of the History of the Church at the University of Dillingen/Donau and Freiburg/Br., founded the scientific journal Annuarium Historiæ Conciliorum (AHC), the first number of which was published in 1969.
From its start, the journal has carried the subtitle, Internationale Zeitschrift für Konziliengeschichtsforschung (International Journal for the Investigation of the History of Councils), thus emphasizing that it was to be a journal open to the contributions of scholars from all parts of the world, as in fact it came to be. The balance of more than thirty years demonstrates this fact. In this period, more than 400 articles have been published (aside from the majority of articles written in German, there are more than 60 in English, 28 in Italian, 23 in French, and 18 in Spanish, including articles translated from Slavic languages and from Greek).
The universality of the authors reflects the universality of the counciliar theme, above all when even the provincial councils that have taken place in all of the five continents are taken into account. From the beginning, the group has had ecumenical interests that are especially articulated in the relations with scholars of the Orthodox confession and with the continual presence of Greek contributions to the journal.
At its birth, the new journal enjoyed the warm encouragement and the collaboration of the renowned historian Hubert JEDIN, then Emeritus Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Bonn, and at that time still involved in finishing his History of the Council of Trent and the monumental History of the Church directed by him. Jedin formed part of the scientific committee of the journal until his death in 1980.
The importance that the investigation of the history of the councils has for the history of cannon law is demonstrated not only by the relevant number of articles related to this discipline, but also by the presence of Stephan KUTTNER in the scientific committee of the journal until his death in 1987.
Other members of the scientific committee: Evangelos CHRYSOS/Athens, José GOÑI GAZTAMBIDE/Pamplona, Claudio LEONARDI/Florence, Edward SCHOFIELD/London, Brian TIERNEY/Ithaca-N.Y., Bris ULIANICH/Naples, and Peter WIRTH/Munich. Although the AHC is a journal dedicated to the study of the history of the Church, it naturally contains many contributions of deep interest to general history. At present, the direction is in the hands of the founder of the journal, Walter BRANDMÜLLER - President of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences since 1998 - who fulfills the role of editor of the journal, and of Johannes GROHE - professor of Medieval History of the Church at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome - who acts as director.
The articles of the journal form a forum for scientific discussion that further serves to prepare and to accompany the publishing of the Konziliengeschichte (History of the Councils), Collection edited by Walter BRANDMÜLLER, that is developed in two parts - Darstellungen (presentation of the individual councils) and Untersuchungen (investigation in specialized themes connected with the history of the councils).
The journal, well established in the scientific world, is published in two numbers each year with a comprehensive total of approximately 500 pages. In addition to scientific articles, the journal publishes a section of reviews and a bibliography (under the care of Ansgar FRENKEN/Herzogenaurach-Germany). The publishing house of Annuarium Historiæ Conciliorum is the Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag/Paderborn-Germany.
From its beginnings, the journal provides a specialized bibliography that supplies information, as complete as possible, about recent monographs and articles in the scientific world. This bibliography has so far offered an average of 200 articles a year, with a clear growing trend in recent years. Presently - since 1997 - it is being edited under Ansgar FRENKEN. There have been a number collaborators of whom it is worth mentioning Adolf LUMPE (Augusta), himself editor of the section from 1977 until 1996. The bibliography has always been printed exclusively in the AHC. Presently, a database is being prepared with the published material of the past 31 years of the AHC (consisting of more than 6000 titles) which in the future will be updated each year with recent bibliography. Meanwhile, the bibliography will be published in the journal as usual.