Paul E. Michelson
This article analyzes the personality and activity of the historian and Professor Pompiliu Teodor (1930–2001), a Transylvanian intellectual who left a lasting trace on Romanian historiography and the cultural institutions in which he worked or to whose establishing he contributed. The paper consists of four parts. The first one is dedicated to the professor’s biographical details, and the next three to his scientific contributions pertaining to three main directions: Transylvanian Illuminism, especially the Transylvanian School, the national development of Romania from the 17th century to 1918, and the history of Romanian historiography.
The first section presents the historian’s life, beginning with his childhood and youth in Hunedoara, until the illustrious career he built at the University of Cluj, where a professional “oasis” that offered a certain shelter from the ideological imperatives of the communist regime was born. The personality and competence of Professor Teodor emerge first from the testimonies of the professors, Romanian and foreign colleagues, and of his students who became historians as well.
The second section reveals his contribution to Transylvanian Illuminism, which permanently promoted him as a model of professionalism both nationally and internationally. His work provided Western historians with the most recent research undertaken in the Romanian space and introduced Western research directions into Romanian historiography (for example, the close connections between Illuminism and the development of the national idea).
The next section outlines the abundant scientific work of Professor Teodor referring to the national unity of the Romanians (marked by personalities, documents, and events), which he regarded as a continuation of the Illuminist current and interpreted according to the theoretical frameworks employed in European and American historiography.
The last section relates to the segment dedicated to the historiographic history of Pompiliu Teodor’s work, a domain that had profoundly influenced him beginning with 1970, and in which he employed a methodology operating based on commentaries, anthologies, and bibliographies. This dimension of Professor Teodor’s work is divided into two periods, before and after 1990, for marking the pressure of the ideological context on his activity, although the historian’s guiding principles and methodology did not change. The article ends with the review of the important contributions of Pompiliu Teodor to the study of ecclesiastical history, a project he could start only in the last part of his life, after the fall of the communist regime, and that he unfortunately could not develop anymore according to his intentions.