One To Disrupt The Status Quo

The Theology of Hope, by Jürgen Moltmann, translated by James W. Leitch, (Harper & Row, 1967, 342 pp., $8.50), is reviewed by David P. Scaer, assistant professor of systematic theology, Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois.

Only infrequently in a generation does a book appear that promises to disrupt the theological status quo and direct theology along a new course. In this case the “new” direction is a reaffirmation of the classical New Testament eschatological hope that the risen Christ will appear so that the dead may share in his resurrection. In these pages we find more than a simple biblicism. The author, professor of systematic theology at the University of Tübingen, was motivated to write by current theological thought that has reduced both history and eschatology to an eternal present. This idea, which is the mainspring of existential philosophy, is familiar to us through the works of Bultmann and to some extent Barth.

Far from being biblical, the depreciation of history, and also the future, with sole emphasis on the “now,” originates in the Hellenistic cyclical view of history and can be traced through Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, right into contemporary theology. It has also had a profound influence on the study of history, which has provided critical categories for studying the events of the New Testament and has laid down paths for plotting the future. This historical method, prominent in both this and the last centuries, follows the “whole” concept of the Greeks and does not allow for any new events that do not have parallels in earlier ones. Thus for Baur, miracles are a priori impossible and have no place in history. The existence principle of Heidegger, ...

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