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The Living God and the Fullness of Life Paperback – November 13, 2015
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About the Author
Jürgen Moltmann is one of the world’s greatest living theologians. In such books as The Theology of Hope, The Crucified God, and The Trinity and the Kingdom, he has inspired countless readers to encounter the reality of God more fully and respond to the needs of the world more faithfully.
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Top Customer Reviews
Moltmann's new book, The Living God and the Fulness of Life, straddles an awkward space between academic theology and devotional literature. During my reading, at times my Christian spirit was moved and inspired, at times my academic, philosophical mind was challenged. Sometimes both at once.
Long a fixture at the University of Tübingen, where he taught systematic theology from 1963 to 1994 (I think I had a couple of professors who studied under him, so I guess I've been indirectly influenced by Moltmann), Moltmann writes from a Reformed, evangelical perspective, but I have a hard time pinning him down within that tradition.
I'm no theological scholar, and certainly have not extensively studied Moltmann's full body of work, but I like the way he seems to challenge core theological positions without wandering into the woods of heterodoxy. For example, he challenges the idea of God's unchangeable, immovable nature. "It is impossible to consider God as being unchangeable and immovable without declaring God to be dead. But the living God is free to move and change." God can also suffer: "The living God cannot be a God unable to suffer, because God is not a God without relationships." This idea of God in relationship, in community, is central to Moltmann's understanding of the trinity. After some of his early writings, Moltmann was criticized as a non-trinitarian. His discussion of the trinity in The Living God is worth studying, and, I think keeps him well-placed in orthodox, trinitarian theology.
I must admit that I sometimes felt out of my league when reading The Living God, but I think that's a good thing. It's been too many years since I've read serious theology, too many years of reading popular pastors' sermon series turned into inspirational but light-weight books. My mind and my spirit need to be challenged by theologians like Moltmann. I'll close with an apt summary of Motlmann's theme. "The experience of God will become the experience of being loved and affirmed from all eternity. That is the fullness of life." Amen to that, brother Motlmann.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
Jürgen Moltmann’s latest book is a detailed elaboration of earlier work, concerning the doctrine of God and “Spirit”. Therefore, Moltmann assumes the reader to have already become familiar with his earlier work and theological position. In other words, it is not an entry-level read and the reader should have already acquired some background work in Moltmann’s theology.
If you take the manuscript in small portions, you should be able to absorb the material without too much difficulty. I approached the manuscript in the following order of 14 short lessons
1. Negating diminished life pp. 1-14
2. Pre-rational affirmation pp. 23-35
3. False transcendence and attributes pp. 35-45
4. False-transcendence and attributes pp. 46-56
5. Objective transcendence and “unity” pp. 57-67
6. Henosis dimensions of divinity, generations, & earth pp. 73-87
7. Henosis and joy pp. 87-103
8. Henosis and freedom pp. 103-117
9. Henosis and friendship pp. 117-129
10. Henosis and necessity of passion pp. 129-137
11. Love and the binding-agency-of-friendship pp. 137-157
12. Awakening the senses pp. 157-177
13. Transcendence and the “kingdom-of-henosis” pp. 177-191
14. Prayer within “henosis” pp. 191-209
Moltmann approaches theology-proper, that is, the “doctrine-of-God” by introducing a new topic of discussion into systematic theology – the doctrine of the “UNIFYING-ACTIVITY-OF-HENOSIS”. “To enter into a union”, or “unity”. The unifying activity of God’s spirit in lifting creation into union with GODSELF.
In doing this, he openly announces that he is taking-up Hegel; and interpreting him theologically (the Hegel somewhere situated between Tubingen and Jena).
I would classify the book as Grad-level or Post-Grad; and for the seasoned student. But for those who have followed Moltmann over the years; you are going to love it. Brilliant, inspiring, prophetic. 5 stars