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Introduction to Systematic Theology Paperback – December, 1998

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Paperback, December, 1998
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"Pannenberg's work impresses by its integrity and comprehensiveness. There is nothing trivial here..." -- Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, Vol. 20 Number 1 spring 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: T. & T. Clark Publishers, Ltd. (December 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0567291952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567291950
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,949,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Abba Poemen the Ubermensch on February 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't think that this book is an overview of the author's Systematic Theology (ST) set - it's an introduction. The writing is simpler than the author's ST, here Pannenberg merely outlines certain methods and concepts - which many laypersons will find good enough. Some major topics covered in his ST are missing...
In the first section, he goes through his reasoning about why theology, ST in particular, is importance to the life of the Church, and what the consequences are for not fulfilling the task properly.
He then goes through some issues on the method of systematic inquiry, critically evaluating methods used in the past for systematic presentations of Christian teaching. He also notes some new challenges which ST has to face with the rise of the modern period, and how poorly theologians have handled the challenge. The result, he argues, has been a retreat of theology from the public arena of critical discourse regarding truth claims to some sheltered corner of subjective commitment, the assurance of truth being simply supplied by 'personal experience and belief'. In Pannenberg's estimation, this did a great deal of damage to the claims of Christian teaching to be taken seriously as a candidate of rational discourse.
In the second section he illustrates why the idea of God cannot be exchanged with other ideas, noting that the claims of the tradition and of Jesus himself become incoherent if we do, but states that the idea of God as it was developed under classical metaphysics is in need of a serious revision. He encourages critical dialog with the tradition of philosophical theology, but not for the purposes of 'natural theology', but for critical examination of theological language.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Derrick A. Peterson on October 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is, if not a must read, a helpful companion doing exactly what it set out to be: an introduction to Pannenberg's Systematic Theology. As one reviewer commented below, it is in some ways unfortunate that this otherwise helpful book is not an overview or a synopsis to Pannenberg's works, especially his gigantic systematics, but nonetheless this introduction does outline several of his key themes, including understanding man, world, and history in light of its relationship to God, the proleptic and anticipatory nature of reality that awaits final consummation in the eschaton, and so forth. To anyone interested in Pannenberg, even those who have already read several of his works, I heartily recommend this book, which is a short read that really helps you get a grasp on what Pannenberg will try to accomplish in his magnum opus.

As far as complaints, they are few and far between. Already noted is the (unusual) sparcity, especially for Pannenberg, regarding footnotes and references, even to his own works. A Bibliography of Pannenberg's books and maybe even his journal articles up to the Systematics would have been nice for those wanting an index of that type (which, you would, I think, come to expect from an introductory work like this...) What I recommend in the stead of this absent bibliography, or summary of Pannenbergs works, are two books, both of which are the best Pannenberg summaries I have read: Stanley Grenz' "A Reason For Hope: The THeology of WOlfhart Pannenberg," which is a classic on Pannenberg written in the early 90's and giving a chapter-by-chapter analyses of Pannenberg. As far as a summary of the contents of Pannenberg's theology, this is the best book on Pannenberg you could buy. For a summary of Pannenberg's methodology however, F.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Wolfhart Pannenberg (b. 1928) is a German theologian, who since 1968 has been Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Munich.

The three volumes of Pannenberg's Systematic Theology were published in 1988, 1991, and 1993, so this "Introduction" was actually published at the same time as the second volume. It is a short (69 pages) work, consisting of four lectures: "The Need for Systematic Theology"; "Problems of a Christian Doctrine of God"; "The Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Scientific Cosmology"; and "Christology within a Systematic Framework."

He states in the first lecture, "Here we are at the core of our subject, the need for systematic theology, because it all depends on the question of truth: If we suppose that the God of Israel and of Jesus is the one and only true God, then and only then is there a sufficient reason for believing in that God, even if one is not a Jew." He adds, "The task of theology is not only to investigate the origin and the original content of the Christian faith and of the doctrine of the church, or the changes they underwent in the course of history, but also to determine the truth which is contained in that tradition." (Pg. 6-7)

In the second lecture, he asserts that "the theologian should not rely too heavily on a particular philosophical system, but she or he should criticallly participate in the dialog of contemporary philosoophy with the metaphysical tradition ... The rejection of 'natural theology' has served as an excuse for not entering seriously at all into the dialog with philosophy." (Pgs. 24-25)

In the third lecture, he states, "The human mind, then, is a phenomenon of heightened life.
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