Monday, March 19, 2007

[THO] Moltmann and the Resurrection of Christ

I'm just about to write my Christology paper on Resurrection in Moltmann's Theology of Hope. Not just the book of that title, but that is what I would label his whole theology. Moltmann read Bloch's The Principles of Hope and realized that the category of hope had been lost to Christianity. In fact we were discussing in Liberation Theology class today how the early church practiced hope, yet we tend to practice systems of belief (dogma). Moltmann's response was his groundbreaking book The Theology of Hope, which is a profound read that I've worked with the last two semesters (last semester as a critique for the evangelical vision of grace). This time I did a survey of Moltmann's major works (Crucified God, Coming of God, Church in the Power of the Spirit, The Way of Jesus Christ, etc.) as well as some of his applications of the Theology of Hope (In the End...the Beginning, Future of Creation, etc.) Honestly I think I overdid it, but it isn't that easy to stop once you get started. I found that Moltmann is consistant all through this theology, at least in terms of the Resurrection. He brilliantly exposes why this foolishness about the Platonic Immortality of the Soul is a blight on modern Christianity and how the remedy is Resurrection faith. And Moltmann masterfully exposes the whole understanding of Resurrection in the langauge of promise, that is enough to give me goosepimples! But the best is his understanding of Resurrection as the inbreaking of the future into history in a way that re-makes history! This is such a profound insight that almost every text I looked at tried to unpack this idea. Just as Volf [Correction: it was Geiko Muller-Fahrenholz not Volf] says the theology of the Resurrection is the hinge on which the Theology of Hope turns, this understanding of the Resurrection builds the anticipation of Kingdom Inbreaking in the believer and becomes the imperative for our lived faith in this world. It is just so good.

Well I better get writing.


Chris Tilling said...

"enough to give me goosepimples"

Know what you mean!

Wow, Kung, Molty .... come to Tubingen!

One of Freedom said...

Soon Chris, soon. At least that is one option I want to open up for my DTh. But next semester I'm resigned to taking half my classes en francais, that's going to be hard on my poor old noggin. I'll have to make do with the gracious Tubingeners crossing the pond to keep on tempting me!

a.k. said...

Hey again One of Freedom,

I must confess that I have an aversion to academia and theological studies, but, I must also say that I like your thinking/content…so, here I am for the second time.

Hope, faith, promise, inbreaking Kingdom…sounds life altering if actually believed and applied in one’s faith journey (or an entire people groups journey).

Sounds also like a bit of George Ladd’s stuff on steroids if-you-would.

I would have enjoyed the discussion re: “how the early church practiced hope, yet we tend to practice systems of belief (dogma).”

Keep it coming!

One of Freedom said...

Good connection AK. It might be that I am quite influence by Ladd so I see things through that lens, but I do think Moltmann does a version of Laddian Kingdom Theology, although I suspect he comes at it through CH Dodd and others.

I'd have to really do some research on that practice of hope. It came up in a class unrelated to the Moltmann texts and fit oh so well. The main point from our conversation was that the more established Christianity became the more it became about what you knew/believed. Maybe I'll pull something together on this after my last paper is done.

byron said...

Frank - I wrote an essay on Moltmann's take on resurrection last year. I'd be happy to send it to you if it might be of use.

One of Freedom said...

Hey Byron, I finished the first draft of my essay. I would love to look at yours and see if you picked up anything I missed. Could you email it to me?

Alex said...


Theology of Hope has been on my reading list for a while now and it now stands 6th in line so I plan to get to it early this summer. The idea of resurrection being the basis for hope I really got when I read RSG by N.T. Wright. I never before understood how resurrection fits in with everything we are taught about the afterlife, but what it does is give us an idea of the continuity between this age and the next. I can't quite explain it, but for some reason that gives me more hope than being vacuumed away to heaven. I guess because it seems more real to me, as miraculous as resurrection is.


One of Freedom said...

Hey Alex,

Byron does a quick compare of NT's take and Moltmann's take in the essay he sent me. He can probably give you a better comparison. But what is brilliant about Moltmann is how he discloses how our Platonic notions about the immortality of the soul undermines the significance of the Resurrection. Moltmann brings home the absolute necessity of resurrection so it is not just a "but he rose again" added to the end of the story. I think you will really enjoy Theology of Hope. Have you read Trininty and the Kingdom? That was my first Moltmann text and where I fell in love with the theology of hope.