Why Jürgen Moltmann Did Not Write a Theological System

Thomas Aquinas, father of Modern Dogmatics and Systematic Theology

“Systems save some readers, and their admirers most of all, from thinking critically for themselves, and at arriving at independent and responsible positions. For systems do not present themselves for discussion. For that reason, I have resisted the temptation to develop a theological system. Even an open one.”
– Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom

I recently shared some helpful bullet points from How I Have Changed on Moltmann’s theological method. Since he has “always been interested only in the theological content”, Moltmann can seem a little dodgy to American Evangelicals. What are his presuppositions? His approach to the Bible, tradition, and experience? He finally got around to writing about these matters in detail only at the end of his Systematic Contributions to Theology. I’m grateful that a whole session was devoted to this subject in the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Moltmann. Below is audio and transcript* from the opening question of this session (#2), where Tony Jones asks Moltmann about how his approach to theological method differs from a traditional Systematic Theology or Dogmatics.


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