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Jurgen Moltmann: Collected Readings Paperback – August 1, 2014
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About the Author
Jurgen Moltmann studied Christian theology in England and, after his return to Germany, in Gottingen. He served as a pastor from 1952 to 1958 in Bremen. Since 1967 he has been professor of systematic theology at the University of Tubingen and retired in 1994. Among his many influential and award-winning books are The Theology of Hope (1967), The Crucified God (1974), The Trinity and the Kingdom (1981), The Spirit of Life (1994), and The Coming of God (1996), winner of the Grawemeyer Award in 2000. All are published by Fortress Press.
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Instead, in this wonderful text you'll find a brief survey of Moltmann's major works. Moltmann's longtime English translator, Margaret Kohl, serves as the editor, providing 2-3 selections from Theology of Hope, The Crucified God, The Trinity and the Kingdom, God in Creation, The Way of Jesus Christ, The Spirit of Life, The Coming of God, and Ethics of Hope. Each chapter is about 30-40 pages, which provides a suitable way into Moltmann's thought. The passages are not necessarily all my favorites, but it's pretty clear that Kohl has provided a great selection, highlighting key themes and providing a balance of Moltmann's very capable explorations in historical theology, constructive theology, pastoral passion. She takes an almost impossible task of pulling out passages to represent the whole and does a very fine job.
Richard Bauckham, Moltmann's longtime and arguably best interpreter, provides a short but insightful introduction in which he briefly highlights key themes. As someone who has specialized in Moltmann's works myself, I think Bauckham is spot on as he highlights the themes of Passion, Mutuality and Perichoresis, and Life.
As to this particular book and its use, it's not sufficient for a detailed study of Moltmann's theology. Read the originals for that. However, this is ideal for a survey course in theology or, more specifically, Moltmann's theology (or liberation theology, or political theology, etc.) at an undergraduate or seminary level.
Indeed, I'm strongly considering using it for my undergraduate upper division theology classes.
Baukham's Introduction is an excellent and concise overview of Moltmann's theological project and is not to be missed! You can view this part of the book in full as part of the free online preview, or by downloading the Sample from the Kindle Edition. The meat of the book is a collection of readings from many of Moltmann's major works, first from two of the three books in the original "Trilogy", then from six of Moltmann's seven volumes of Systematic Contributions to Theology (with an excellent bonus selection from The Future of Creation included in the section covering God in Creation).
Baukham explains this development in the trajectory of Moltmann's major works this way in the Introduction:
'Theology of Hope and The Crucified God were programmatic works or, one might say, "orienting" works, which serve to give to the whole of theology a particular kind of orientation. Eschatological hope has remained a decisive characteristic of all of Moltmann's theology and the cross has remained for him a decisive criterion of an adequately Christian theology. The Church in the Power of the Spirit [Not appearing in this reader] completed this early trilogy, and performs a similar role, not so much through its understanding of the church as through its development of The Crucified God's rather rudimentary account of the Spirit, making more fully viable the notion of a trinitarian history of God with the world. Then Moltmann's work took a new turn. He embarked on what became a series of seven planned volumes, five on classic Christian doctrines (Trinity [Trinity and the Kingdom], creation [God in Creation], Christology [The Way of Jesus Christ], pneumatology [The Spirit of Life], eschatology [The Coming of God]), one on theological method (Experiences in Theology, not represented in this volume), and one on theological ethics [Ethics of Hope]. They have something like the traditional shape of a dogmatics or systematic theology, but he preferred to call them "contributions to theology," characteristically stressing their open and dialogical character as one theologian's contribution to the ongoing task.'
I was reading the Kindle edition, but I understand that each section is roughly 30-40 pages in print, which basically means that you are getting about 1/10 of the text in each of the original books. So this is by no stretch of the imagination a substitute for reading any of them, but it is a great way to get a bird's eye view of the scope of Jürgen Moltmann's theology. If you are a seasoned Moltmann reader, you won't find any new material here (but it is still a worthwhile resource for review!). If you are new to Moltmann, think of this as a sampler that might give you an idea of what you might like to read next.
This reader contained several (but not all) of my favorite passages in Moltmann's works. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in an overview of Moltmann's theology.
I was provided a free ebook from Fortress Press in exchange for an honest review. This review originally appeared on moltmanniac.com