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Moltmann, Jürgen (b. 1926)

  1. Daniel Castelo

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0919

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Castelo, D. 2011. Moltmann, Jürgen (b. 1926). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

Abstract

Often considered one of the most influential theologians of the latter half of the 20th century, Jürgen Moltmann has been a dominant figure in German Protestant theology through his many published works, especially those undertaken during his tenure as professor of Theology at the University of Tübingen (1967–1994), where he is now emeritus professor of Theology. Born into a secular family in Hamburg and having his interest in theology piqued as a prisoner of war during World War II, Moltmann studied at Göttingen immediately after the war and came to consider himself a Reformed theologian, though many associate him with Lutheran theology because of his work on the theology of the cross, most notably in The Crucified God (1972). The work that brought him to early prominence, however, was Theology of Hope (1964) where he considers eschatology as a hermeneutical premise for understanding Christian theology as a whole. The work, drawing its impetus largely from the philosophy of Ernst Bloch, created a significant trend in theology, and its influence partially extended to other theological currents, including political and liberation theologies. Moltmann's optimism shifted with a number of developments during the 1960s, leading him to work on The Crucified God as a text that interrelated the themes of suffering and God in ways that have been termed a “theology after Auschwitz.” Given that the work focuses on the doctrine of God, The Crucified God includes many themes that he would later develop. These first two texts along with The Church in the Power of the Spirit (1975) constitute a trilogy of sorts in that each work explored the “whole of theology” under a single focus. Moltmann took a different approach with his subsequent major works, beginning with The Trinity and the Kingdom (1980), in which he intended to offer “contributions” to the academic field. Additional themes considered in this way included creation (God in Creation, 1985), Christology (The Way of Jesus Christ, 1989), pneumatology (The Spirit of Life, 1991), eschatology (The Coming of God, 1995), and theological methodology (Experiences in Theology, 2000).

Keywords:

  • Moltmann, Jürgen (b. 1926);
  • influential theologians, of latter half of 20th century;
  • German protestant theology;
  • the crucified God;
  • creativity and imagination, in his choice of sources