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My Struggle for Freedom: Memoirs [Kindle Edition]

Hans Kung
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Hans Kung is undoubtedly one of the most important theologians of our time, but he has always been a controversial figure, and as the result of a much-publicized clash over papal infallibility had his permission to teach revoked by the Vatican. Yet at seventy-five years of age Kung is also something of a senior statesman, one of the Group of Eminent Persons convened by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a friend of heads of government like Britains Tony Blair and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. In this fascinating autobiography Kung gives a frank and outspoken account of the first four decades of his life. He tells of his youth in Switzerland and his decision to become a priest, of his doubts and struggles as he studied in Rome and Paris, and of his experiences as a professor in Tubingen, where he received a chair at the early age of thirty-one. Most importantly, as one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of Vatican II, Kung gives an authentic account of the conflicts behind the scenes. Here it becomes clear just how major an influence he was, to the point of shaping the Councils agenda and drafting speeches for bishops to deliver in plenary sessions. Kungs book offers an acute analysis, compelling in its drama, of meetings with presidents like John F. Kennedy, popes like John XXIII and Paul VI, great theologians like Karl Barth and Karl Rahner, and journeys around the world. With its rich thought and vivid narrative, it paints a moving picture of Kungs personal convictions, including his relentless struggle for a Christianity characterized not by the domination of an official church but by Jesus.


Editorial Reviews

Review

'...A splendid book, packed with theological insights, as Küng constantly demonstrates precisely why he has to disagree with officialdom.'
(Lord Habgood Church Times)

'Fans of Hans Kung who have not yet seen this important book will no doubt want to...Controversial, vigorous, courageous, always thoughtful, exciting, an elder stateman, friend of presidents, prime ministers and governments...Kung was one of Kofi Anna's 'Group of eminent persons'....The man and the theology aer bound togther with passon and excitment...The end result will be rewarding.'
~ David Tennant, Baptist Times, 15 June 2006
(David Tennant Baptist Times)

'Kung's autobiography is an honest exposure of the politics of the Catholic Church, the foibles of recent popes, and the internal workings of the powerful Curia in Rome.'



'...A splendid book, packed with theological insights, as Küng constantly demonstrates precisely why he has to disagree with officialdom.'
(Sanford Lakoff Church Times)

'Fans of Hans Kung who have not yet seen this important book will no doubt want to...Controversial, vigorous, courageous, always thoughtful, exciting, an elder stateman, friend of presidents, prime ministers and governments...Kung was one of Kofi Anna's 'Group of eminent persons'....The man and the theology aer bound togther with passon and excitment...The end result will be rewarding.'
~ David Tennant, Baptist Times, 15 June 2006
(Sanford Lakoff Baptist Times)

'Kung’s autobiography is an honest exposure of the politics of the Catholic Church, the foibles of recent popes, and the internal workings of the powerful Curia in Rome.’

About the Author

Hans Kung is Emeritus Professor of Ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen and President of the Global Ethic Foundation. He is the author of numerous best selling books including On Being a Christian (Harper Collins).

Product Details

  • File Size: 7542 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (September 1, 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001UV3BLS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine book from Kung October 15, 2003
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My Struggle for Freedom is another fine book from this great Christian and Christian theologian, but one concentrating on his life and experiences as another way of approaching the issues central to his life. The years he covers are through the late 1960s, and include his boyhood in Switzerland, his path to becoming a priest, his education in theology and finally Vatican II. The issues, and his commitment to intellectual honesty, to Christian honesty and to Christ as the very core of Christianity, are still central. As always, he calls it as he sees it and gives his reasons for doing so. If you don't like honest and well-reasoned opinion, don't read Kung.
The book reads well, is touching at many points, and simply resounds with his famed honesty, clarity and great erudition. Reading this book is yet more of the liberal education he supplies in all his books. My Struggle for Freedom has only increased my love and admiration for him as a person, as a fellow Christian and as a leader in ethical and religious thinking today. To me, Kung is the voice of ecumenism. (Note that the publisher is a traditionally protestant book house.) While I am mainly protestant in my Christian orientation, Kung has helped me understand the Catholic Church, the mother church of Christianity, to the point where I deeply regret all the historical splits, and that another outcome had not been negotiated for the Reformation. This is ironic. He is a persistent and insightful critic of the church, yet he creates love for this church which he refuses to leave or stop loving; and after all is done, it is an ironic testament to the greatness of the Church itself that it has produced such a man.
Kung is a man of great courage, of true commitment to Christ and Christian ideals.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star book 3 star translation April 29, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fascinating reading for those interested in the background of the Vatican II council sessions and Kung's part in them; and in the development of his theology. And for understanding who he is, getting behind the media picture of the young theological "radical". What emerges is that the Vatican's biggest problem with Kung is that they don't scare him, can't browbeat him, and are arguing with a man trained in their own methods.

Oddly, the book is written (or translated?) all in the present tense, which can be confusing at times, when some use of past tense might distinguish between what Kung thought at the time and thinks now. I don't know if this is the translator, or the author himself; at times it gets annoying and tedious, even occasionally sounding pompous, which is not characteristic of Kung judging from everything else (and that's practically his entire opus available in English) I've read of his work.

At any rate, the use of present tense is strange even in a memoir; I encountered it once previously in a biography, and almost couldn't finish that book.

Kung's memoir also contains some assessments of others (including the late and current popes) that come off unkind and "snarky", which also doesn't seem typical of Kung, even in dealing with opponents, who I think he typically confounds by courteously sticking to his position and insisting on truth. I can't help wondering if some of the "snarkiness" is also a product of the translation.

Also, there are, as noted by a previous reviewer, some odd translation errors, such as calling the USA Secretary of the Treasury "Finance Minister"; again, perhaps translation, or could be the translator trying to stay "true" (unnecessarily, in my view) to Kung's German?
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vatican II, the true story May 14, 2004
Format:Hardcover
As a theology student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. during the time of Vatican II, I was constantly in tune with what was taking place in Rome. Many of our professors made bi-weekly trips to Rome when the Council was in session and would bring back the details.
Kung's memoirs adds the inside story to complete the picture. It is a lengthy, yet fascinating review of the various Vatican II designers and participants. Better yet, you get an excellent understanding of the reform and why it was ended before it could take hold. And the knowledge of the author comes through. It's no wonder that Kung was the top theologian and primary behind-the-scenes designer of it all. I eagerly await his second volumn.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Hans Kung, perhaps the most controversial Catholic theologian of modern times, has written a memoir of his life up to 1968. In recounting his theological formation, years of teaching, and particularly his service to the Church during the Second Vatican Council, Kung provides readers with a nuanced view of his theological method and conclusions. For North Americans, particularly those who grew up in the wake of the Council's changes, this book is a valuable historical view of the ideas, people, and institutions that formed Catholicism in a time of enormous ferment.
Despite the struggles Kung was to undergo in the 70s, 80s, and 90s (only hinted at in this first volume), he is generally well-disposed to those who opposed him and rarely slips into personal attack. This book is a valuable addition to Catholic historical thought but should also be read in conjunction with those reflective works of Kung's theological counterparts: Rahner, Ratzinger, Congar, and de Lubac.
The translation at times is a bit slip-shod ("degree" in place of "decree" on a number of occasions) but readers should have no real trouble with this editorial problem.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Outstanding reflection of a life seeking truth in a social group that apparently lost its way --
Published 2 months ago by jules gryckiewicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Hans Kueng rolls with the punches
Excellent summary of Vatican II and Rome
Published 8 months ago by R.E. Dentinger
4.0 out of 5 stars My Struggle for Freedom: Memoirs
Prolific comes to mind with this author. Hans Kung, writer extrordinaire, without question. One need not agree with this theologian, but reading this first of his memoirs it can... Read more
Published 15 months ago by J Humphrey G
5.0 out of 5 stars Council leader who gets pushed to the sidelines
Hans has that Swiss determination to stand for his convictions. I admire his tenacity. Perhaps this new pope, who has a different perspective (even though conservative in... Read more
Published 20 months ago by robert swade
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE CONTROVERSIAL THEOLOGIAN'S MEMOIRS
Hans Küng (born 1928) is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and author, who was famously censured by the Vatican in 1979 (see Kung in Conflict, The New Inquisition? Read more
Published on January 10, 2013 by Steven H Propp
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE CONTROVERSIAL THEOLOGIAN'S MEMOIRS
Hans Küng (born 1928) is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and author, who was famously censured by the Vatican in 1979 (see Kung in Conflict, The New Inquisition? Read more
Published on January 10, 2013 by Steven H Propp
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat bleak
I have been an admirer and fan of Hans. I heard him speak in Florida and he autographed my purchase of "Christianity" and gave me a very insightful answer to my question; "what is... Read more
Published on July 28, 2010 by barnabus fuller
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for those interested in the lives of popular theologians!
A very well written, in-depth look at the life of one of the 20th Century's greatest theologians. Kung also happens to be one of the most controversial theologians due to his... Read more
Published on April 22, 2006 by Franciscan
4.0 out of 5 stars My Struggle for Freedom: Memoirs
Hans Kung has give us a look into what made the Swiss theologian a strong force for individual freedom within the Catholic Church during the last half of the 20th Century. Read more
Published on October 3, 2005 by Michael Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book for me
This is going to take a long time to digest. I escaped from constraint by going into philosophy instead of seminary. Read more
Published on February 15, 2004 by W. Jamison
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