Five decades after publication of his ground-breaking Theology of Hope, German theologian Jürgen Moltmann continues to insist on the power. Moltmann’s Theology of Hope is a theological perspective with an eschatological foundation and focuses on the. SCAER: JURGEN MOLTMANN AND HIS THEOLOGY OF HOPE. | 71 though much of its terminology and content are shaped in the Biblical mould. The “ theology.
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Moltmann developed a form of liberation theology predicated on the view that God suffers with humanity, while also promising humanity a better future through the hope of the Resurrectionwhich he has labelled a ‘theology of hope’. Moltmann has become known for developing a form of social trinitarianism.
Moltmann was born in Hamburg. He described his German upbringing as thoroughly secular. His grandfather was a grand master of the Freemasons. At sixteen, Moltmann idolized Albert Einsteinand anticipated studying mathematics at university. The physics of relativity were “fascinating secrets open to knowledge”; theology as yet played no role in his life.
He took his entrance exam to proceed with his education, but went to war instead as an Air Force auxiliary in the German army. Ordered to the Klever Reichswalda German forest at the front lines, he surrendered in in the dark to the first British soldier he met. For the next few years —48he was confined as a prisoner of war and moved from camp to camp. He was first confined in Belgium. In the camp at Belgium, the prisoners were given little to do. Moltmann and his fellow prisoners were tormented by “memories and gnawing thoughts”—Moltmann claimed to have lost all hope and confidence in German culture because of Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps where Jews and others the Nazis opposed had been imprisoned and killed.
They also glimpsed photographs nailed up confrontationally in their huts, bare photographs of Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Moltmann met a group of Christians in the camp, and was given a small copy of the New Testament and Psalms by an American chaplain. He gradually felt more and more identification with and reliance on the Christian faith. Moltmann later claimed, “I didn’t find Christhe found me. After Belgium, he was transferred to a POW camp in KilmarnockScotlandwhere he worked with other Germans to rebuild areas damaged in the bombing.
The hospitality of the Scottish residents toward the prisoners left a great impression upon him. At Norton Camp, he discovered Reinhold Niebuhr ‘s Nature and Destiny of Man —it was the first book of theology he had ever read, and Moltmann claimed it had a huge impact on his life. His experience as a POW gave him a great understanding of how suffering and hope reinforce each other, leaving a lasting impression on his theology.
Moltmann returned home at 22 years of age to find his hometown of Hamburg in fact, his entire country in ruins from Allied bombing in World War II. Moltmann immediately went to work in an attempt to express a theology that would reach what he called “the survivors of [his] generation”. Moltmann had hope that the example of the ” Confessing Church ” during the war would be repeated in new ecclesiastical structures.
He and many others were disappointed to see, instead, a rebuilding on pre-war models in a cultural attempt to forget entirely the recent period of deadly hardship. Inhe and four others were invited ohpe attend the first postwar Student Christian Movement in Swanwick, a conference center near DerbyUK. What happened there affected him very deeply.
In Moltmann became a theology teacher at an academy in Wuppertal that was operated by the Confessing Church juregn in he joined the theological faculty at the University of Bonn. From toMoltmann was the Robert W. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in — Moltmann grew critical of Barth’s neglect of the historical nature of reality, and began to study Bonhoeffer.
He developed a greater concern for social ethics, and the relationship between church and society.
Moltmann also developed an interest in Luther and Hegel, the former of whose doctrine of justification and theology of the cross interested him greatly. His doctoral supervisor, Otto Weber helped him to develop his eschatological perspective of the church’s universal mission. Moltmann cites the English pacifist and anti-capitalist theologian Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy as being highly regarded.
Bloch is concerned to establish hope as the guiding principle of his Marxism and stresses the implied humanism inherent in mystical tradition. Bloch claims to identify an atheism at the core of Christianity, embodied in the notion of the death of God and the continued imperative of seeking the Kingdom.
The whole theme of the Theology of Hope was worked out in counterpoint to the theology of Wolfhart Pannenbergwho had worked alongside Moltmann at Wuppertal, and had also undergone a conversion experience during Germany’s defeat in World War II. With its slogan of “History as Revelation”, Pannenberg’s theology has many parallels, but Moltmann was concerned to reject any notion of history as a closed system and to shift the stress from revelation to action: The background influence in all these thinkers is Hegel, who is referenced more times than any other writer in the Theology of Hope.
Like the Left Hegelians who immediately succeeded the master, both Moltmann and Pannenberg are determined to retain the sense of history as meaningful and central to Christian discourse, while avoiding the essentially conformist and conservative aspects of his thought.
In so doing, they are wrestling with the history of Germany itself. They are also implicitly offering a critique of the Neo-Orthodox theology of Karl Barth and Emil Brunnerwhich they see as ahistorical in its core. Moltmann writes that Barth’s eschatology was at first “not unfriendly towards dynamic and cosmic perspectives” but that he then came under the influence of Plato and Kant and so “set to work in terms of the dialectic of time and eternity and came under the bane of the transcendental eschatology of Kant”.
For Moltmann’s second major work, The Crucified Godthe philosophical inspiration comes from a different tendency within Marxist philosophy. In Explanation of the Themehis introduction to the book, Moltmann acknowledges that the direction of his questioning has shifted to that of existentialist philosophy and the Marxism of the Frankfurt Schoolparticularly Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer — close associates of Paul Tillich. An unacknowledged influence, and certainly an important parallel, is probably the Death of God theology that was winning notice in the mids, particularly the essay collection under that title, edited by William Hamilton and Thomas J.
Altizer in memory of Paul Tillich. The title of Moltmann’s crucial work, however, is derived not from Nietzsche but from Martin Lutherand its use marked a renewed engagement with a specifically Lutheran strain in Protestant theology, as opposed to the more Calvinist tenor of his earlier work.
Moltmann’s widening interest in theological perspectives from a broad cultural arena is evident in his use of the book by Kazoh KitamoriTheology of the Pain of God which he relates to Bonhoeffer’s prison reflections. Moltmann continued to see Christ as dying in solidarity with movements of liberation, God choosing to die with the oppressed.
This work and its footnotes are full of references, direct and implied, to the New Left and the uprisings ofthe Prague Spring the French May and, closest to home, the German APOand their aftermath. The later Moltmann took a less systematic approach to theology, leading to what he called his “systematic contributions to theology”  that sought to provoke and engage more than develop some kind of set Moltmannian theology.
Moltmann corroborates his ideas with those of Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Jews in an attempt to reach a greater understanding of Christian theology; which he believes should be developed inter-ecumenically. Moltmann has a passion for the Kingdom of God as it exists both in the future, and in the God of the present.
His theology is often referred to as “Kingdom of God” Theology. His theology is built on eschatology, and the hope found in the resurrected Christ. This theology is most clearly explained in his book, Theology of Hope.
Moltmann’s theology is also seen as a theology of liberation, though not in the sense that the term is most understood. Moltmann not only views salvation as Christ’s “preferential option for the poor,” but also as offering the hope of reconciliation to the oppressors of the poor. If it were not as such, divine reconciliation would be insufficient. Thus the sixth volume will be helpful for concern for his theological method. However, in fact Moltmann is interested in “the content of theology, in its revision in the light of its biblical origin, and in its innovation given the challenges of the present” rather than in the questions of theological method MeeksIn addition, his development as a theologian has been marked by a restless imagination.
Moltmann’s Theology of Hope is a theological perspective with an eschatological foundation and focuses on the hope that the resurrection brings.
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1: For Moltmann, the hope of the Christian faith is hope in the resurrection of Christ crucified. Hope and faith depend on each other to remain true and substantial; and only with both may one find “not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering” .
However, because of this hope we hold, we may never exist harmoniously in a society such as ours which is based on sin.
When following the Theology of Hope, a Christian should find hope in the future but also experience much discontentment with the way the world is now, corrupt and full of sin.
Sin bases itself in hopelessness, which can take on two forms: Despair is the premature, arbitrary anticipation of the non-fulfillment of what we hope for from God.
In Moltmann’s opinion, joltmann should be seen from an eschatological perspective, looking toward the days when Christ will make all things new. Eschatology should not be its jugren, but its beginning.
Moltmann addresses this concern as such: How could it do so! For it is itself the happiness of the present. This theological perspective of eschatology makes the hope of the future, the hope of today.
Hope strengthens faith and aids a believer into living a life of love, and directing them toward a new creation of all things. It creates in a believer a “passion for the possible”  “For our knowledge and comprehension of reality, and our reflections on it, that means at least this: For Moltmann, creation and eschatology depend on one another. There exists an ongoing process of creation, continuing creation, alongside creation ex nihilo and the consummation of creation.
The consummation of creation will consist of the eschatological transformation of this creation fo the new creation. Moltmann’s liberation theology includes an understanding of both the oppressed and the oppressor as needing reconciliation. God’s ‘preferential option for the poor’ should not be exclusive, but rather include the rich; insofar as God holds judgment over them also.
The sufferings of the poor should not be seen as equal to or a representation of the sufferings of Jesus. Our suffering is not an offering to God, it is not required of us to suffer. The point of the crucified Christ was to present an alternative to human suffering. Human suffering is not a quality of salvation, and should not be viewed as such. This is not to say that the sufferings of humans is of no importance to God.
This “mutual liberation” necessarily involves a “liberation of oppressors theoogy the evil they commit; otherwise there can be no liberation for a new community in justice and freedom.
It is only theollogy that that they can try to find a truly humane community with their previous oppressors. It is with this sensibility that Moltmann explores, in his Experiences in Theologywhat various liberation theolofy might mean for the oppressor: Black theology for whites, Latin American liberation theology for the First World, feminist theology for men, etc.
He also moves beyond oppression as a mere personal sin and instead calls for oppressors to withdraw from the “structures of violence” that destroy the lives of the oppressed.
Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology | Fortress Press
Moltmann stresses the perichoresis of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is to say that he believes the three dwell in one another. The three persons are differentiated in their characteristics, but theologg in their original exchange.
He believes the doctrine of the Trinity should be developed as the “true theological doctrine of freedom.