“Kurvenreich” was a road sign that greeted us often in the Bavarian Alps. “Abundant in curves” is, in fact, not only a warning appropriate to some driving conditions; it is an especially apt descriptive of German theology. Americans compensate for neglected emphases in religion by establishing new cults; Germans, on the other hand, produce new systems of theology.
A decade after its first publication in German, Wolfhart Pannenberg’s Revelation as History has now appeared in both a hardback (1968) and a paperback (1969) translation under a Macmillan label. As contributor to and editor of the volume, Pannenberg with his theological colleagues explores some long-neglected routes on the excursionary winding road of neo-Protestant theology.
The evangelical value of Pannenberg’s view lies in his recognition, long overdue in neo-Protestant dogmatics, of the revelatory significance of universal history, as inclusive also of special redemptive events, and supremely of the resurrection of the crucified Jesus as a striking anticipation of God’s future eschatological revelation. Over against dialectical-existential theology, which misconceives revelation as a present encounter in the internal “historicity” of the self, Pannenberg preserves the external, historically factual mediation of divine revelation centering in Jesus’ resurrection as the event decisive for the future of both church history and world history. With Moltmann, Pannenberg therefore happily extricates contemporary theology a bit from some of the strangleholds of Kantian criticism, which disallowed any and all external divine revelation in nature and history.
The doctrine of revelation, Pannenberg concedes in Revelation as History, “must somehow be confirmed on the basis ...1
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