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Theologies Of Moltmann And Pannenberg

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Discuss about the comparing and contrasting the theologies of Moltmann and Pannenberg within the rubric of theology of hope?


The approach that has been adopted by Jürgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg is similar but at the same time, some differences are also present in this regard. One such similarity is present regarding the nature of Bible, as it neither follows the doctrine of installation nor the doctrine of inerrancy. On the other hand, while talking about the difference between the approaches adopted by the two, you can be said that while Moltmann wants that the theology should be capable of relating with the experiences of life, especially the question of theodicy. The thing done by Moltmann to systematic theology is the volume that is called "contributions" even if these volumes are related with theology from a general perspective only (Gunton, 1997 p145). But on the other hand, there is Pennenberg as it appears that he is more interested in producing the theology that is more coherent, systematic, apologetic and didactic. In this way, he does not appear to be interested in making sure that the theology can be related with life experiences or at least it can be said that this is not equally relevant for Pennenberg as it is relevant to Moltmann (Clark, 2003).

While Moltmann is probably considered as the most prominent one, but certainly he is not the only theological of hope. Another one that can be named in this regard is Wolfhart Pannenberg and he also achieved significant popularity in the United States after the late 60s. In 'Revelation as History',  Pennenberg has written a noteworthy essay in which, and understanding can be found regarding all reality in terms of eschaton, the Christ event being the beginning of that nature and also regarding the concept of God as being the God of future.

In the same way, when it comes to actual theology, there can be several differences related the areas like The Trinity, the final judgment, eschatology etc.. However one similarity that can be pointed out between these two is that both of them lay emphasis on the power of future over present but when it comes to having more understanding of this, there are significant differences present between the two. While Hagel is read by Moltmann in such a way that it provides an understanding regarding the fact that future is the revolutionary and transformative overcoming of presence (Moltmann, 1980). But in case of Pennenberg, future is considered as something that is proleptically found in the present and as a result, it is not necessary that the president should be dramatically upended as it can be improved gradually (Pannenburg, 1987 p7).


In this way, the differences that are present in the readings of Hegel can be associated with the way in which Moltmann and Pennenberg have developed their own political views. Moltmann considers the tension that is present between the cross and resurrection as being the insurrection of God against the worldly powers that enslave and marginalize, and in the end, destroying humanity (Schwarz, 2012). This position, along with the fact that he considers future as overcoming the present can be used to explain the political views of Moltmann, particularly the reason behind the fact that his writings were able to achieve significant popularity during liberation theology movement. If it is considered by the people that the status quo present in sociopolitical world is not capable of even gradual transformation for the betterment, revolutionary change may be required.

In this way, Moltmann believes that democratic socialism is the only way through which a more equitable outcome can be achieved. On the other hand, Pennenberg is in the favor more democratic capitalist model that is capable of becoming more just and fair over time if needed (Wright and Paternoster, 2000).

In the same way, the difference that is present between their view of Hegel also has an impact on their view regarding the way history is impacted by divinity. As a result, Pennenberg believes that the likelihood of the resurrection of Jesus actually taking place can be deduced which means that the resurrection can be approached in the same way as any other historical event is approached. On the other hand, in the opinion of Moltmann, resurrection of Jesus Christ is not such an event that can be discussed in terms of history. He believes that it is an event that can “make the history” and in this way, this event breaks the power enjoyed by history.



Gunton, C., (1997) ‘The Doctrine of Creation’ in Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, p.145

Pannenburg, W., (1987) ‘The Doctrine of Creation and Modern Science’, p.7 

Jürgen Moltmann, 1980, “Why am I a Christian?” in Experiences of God, Philadelphia: Fortress Press

T & T Clark, 2003, Spirit of the Last Days: Pentecostal Eschatology in Conversation with Jürgen Moltmann, by Peter Althouse, London

Nigel Wright, Carlisle, Paternoster, 2000, Disavowing Constantine: Mission, Church and the Social Order in the Theologies of John H. Yoder and Jürgen Moltmann

Schwarz, Hans, 2012. 'Wolfhart Pannenberg' in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity J.B. Stump and Alan G. Padgett (eds.) Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


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