In the history of theology, we find now this and now that dimension of the Gospel suddenly forcing itself into the center of attention. When this happens, it seems to strike no one as being strange; it is always as though this particular aspect is terribly important at this particular time. In our own time, the “theology of hope” is one of the centers of everyone’s concern.
Jürgen Moltmann’s book, The Theology of Hope (see February 16 issue, page 32), is a symptom of the Church’s new concern for eschatology. We could, of course, say that the Church has been busy with the eschatological side of the Bible for a long time. The days are passed, indeed, when theologians assumed that the eschatological problems were all solved or the eschatological structure wholly finished. At any rate, that eschatology looms large on the theological horizon is not a new discovery.
Many works have been devoted to the subject during the past thirty years. Still, Moltmann’s book already published in several translations, has earned unusual response, partly because of its stress on hope as an antidote to many forms of modern theology in which any expectation of a new and future act of God on earth, any reality of fulfillment, has been shoved aside. The “not yet” is not put in opposition to the “already come.” But Moltmann insists that the “realization” of the New Covenant, particularly in the resurrection of Christ, may never be a reason for ignoring the “yet to come.”
The manner in which Moltmann puts his thesis has provoked a great deal of discussion. This was apparent in the publication last year of Diskussion über die “Theologie der Hoffnung.” In this symposium, several writers offered their answer to Moltmann’s book and Moltmann himself responded ...1
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