Zusammenfassung / Summary
While in german catholic theology today the attention of many is drawn to the role of the church in the public sphere, some protestant theologians of late address the question whether the Church is public herself. The paper raises this question taking up the ecclesiology of Erik Peterson (1890-1960). The New Testament scholar came to speak of a public church in a new way in the nineteen-twenties, facing the loss of influence of the protestant church in Germany as well as the temptation of joining the Nazi movement. Starting from the social and spatial images of Scripture, he undertook to revisit important pieces of catholic ecclesiology. The strident convert opened the way for a new understanding of a public church leaving behind former integralistic options while avoiding the privatization of faith at the same time.