When asked for a one sentence comment about Wolfhart Pannenberg at the Emergent Village Theological Conversation in 2009, Moltmann replied that “he is a dear friend and opponent.” The two of them were at the center of the new “hope theology” movement of the 1960’s, and throughout their theological careers were in dialog and conflict with each other. In A Broad Place: An Autobiography, Moltmann spends about a page and a half reflecting on his relationship to Pannenberg, the similarities of their two versions of “hope theology” and how he learned that the two of them got along much better when they avoided discussions of politics. In the wake of Pannenberg’s recent passing, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this section:
Wolfhart Pannenberg has died. He truly was one of the greatest theological minds of his generation, and has been fast becoming one of my favorite theologians.
A number of people who know a thing or two about him (or even knew him personally!) have shared some excellent reflections in the days since his passing. Here is a roundup of articles and media on Pannenberg in remembrance. I’ll try to add more to this post as I become aware of them:
I previously shared Moltmann’s observation regarding the divide between christology “from above” vs “from below”, where he observed that “The difference between a ‘christology from below’ and a ‘christology from above’ is only apparent.” (CG, p. 91) This is in stark contrast to Pannenberg’s strong rejection of christology from above. In an afterward to the second edition of Jesus – God and Man, Pannenberg briefly responds to many criticisms to his approach, including this one. Here is the relevant paragraph:
Since I’m starting to dive a bit deeper into Pannenberg, I’ve decided to go back and re-listen to the collection of lectures that he delivered at Asbury back in 1991 (when I was 10 years old….). They are a bit difficult to navigate on the seminary’s website (some of the titles are missing and there are several duplicates), so I am listing them here below by title with direct links to each lecture. If you don’t listen to any others, make sure you check out The Christian Vision of God, which is an excellent talk on the doctrine of the Trinity.