Moltmanniac Recommends – Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings

Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings; edited by Margaret Kohl. Introduction by Richard Bauckman Fortress Press, Minneapolis, Minn. 292 pages

I am always on the lookout for resources to recommend to people who are interested in learning about Moltmann (see my previous post, Getting Started with Moltmann).  I have just finished reading a new book that belongs at the top of the list: Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings.  This collection is edited by Margaret Kohl (who has translated many of Moltmann’s works into English) and contains a helpful introduction by Richard Bauckham (author of The Theology of Jürgen Moltmann and one of the best known scholars on Moltmann around).

Baukham’s Introduction is an excellent and concise overview of Moltmann’s theological project and is not to be missed! You can view this part of the book in full as part of the free online preview, or by downloading the Sample from the Kindle Edition). The meat of the book is a collection of readings from many of Moltmann’s major works, first from two of the three books in the original “Trilogy“, then from six of Moltmann’s seven volumes of Systematic Contributions to Theology (with an excellent bonus selection from The Future of Creation included in the section covering God in Creation).  Baukham explains this development in the trajectory of Moltmann’s major works this way in the Introduction:

Theology of Hope and The Crucified God were programmatic works or, one might say, “orienting” works, which serve to give to the whole of theology a particular kind of orientation. Eschatological hope has remained a decisive characteristic of all of Moltmann’s theology and the cross has remained for him a decisive criterion of an adequately Christian theology. The Church in the Power of the Spirit [Not appearing in this reader] completed this early trilogy, and performs a similar role, not so much through its understanding of the church as through its development of The Crucified God’s rather rudimentary account of the Spirit, making more fully viable the notion of a trinitarian history of God with the world. Then Moltmann’s work took a new turn. He embarked on what became a series of seven planned volumes, five on classic Christian doctrines (Trinity [Trinity and the Kingdom], creation [God in Creation], Christology [The Way of Jesus Christ], pneumatology [The Spirit of Life], eschatology [The Coming of God]), one on theological method (Experiences in Theology, not represented in this volume), and one on theological ethics [Ethics of Hope]. They have something like the traditional shape of a dogmatics or systematic theology, but he preferred to call them “contributions to theology,” characteristically stressing their open and dialogical character as one theologian’s contribution to the ongoing task.

I was reading the Kindle edition, but I understand that each section is roughly 30-40 pages in print, which basically means that you are getting about 1/10 of the text in each of the original books.  So this is by no stretch of the imagination a substitute for reading any of them, but it is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the scope of Jürgen Moltmann’s theology. If you are a seasoned Moltmann reader, you won’t find any new material here (but it is still a worthwhile resource for review!). If you are new to Moltmann, think of this as a sampler that might give you an idea of what you might like to read next.

This reader contained several (but not all) of my favorite passages in Moltmann’s works (I may circle back and highlight some of them later; I shared one previously here: Moltmann on Breaking the Spell of Hopelesssness). I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in an overview of Moltmann’s theology.

 

I was provided a free ebook from Fortress Press in exchange for an honest review

 

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