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The Way of Jesus Christ [Paperback]

By Jurgen Moltmann (Author) & Margaret Kohl (Translator)
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Item description for The Way of Jesus Christ by Jurgen Moltmann & Margaret Kohl...

Moltmann, professor of systematic theology at the University of Tubingen in Germany, is one of the pre-eminent theologians of our time. His ''messianic theology,'' the work of three decades, is developed in an extraordinarily imaginative way in this volume. His understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ will challenge and stimulate your thinking. Essential reading for fans, yet understandable for novices, this is one of Moltmann's best works.

Publishers Description
The Way of Jesus Christ discusses the following topics: 1. The symbol of the way embodies the aspect of process and brings out christology's alignment towards its goal. This symbol can comprehend Christ's way from his birth in the Spirit and his baptism in the Spirit to his self-surrender on Golgotha. It also makes it possible to understand the path of Christ as the way leading from his resurrection to his parousia-the way he takes in the Spirit to Israel, to the nations, and into the breadth and depth of the cosmos. 2. The symbol of the way makes us aware that every human christology is historically conditioned and limited. Every human christology is a 'christology of the way, ' not yet a 'christology of the home country, ' a christology of faith, not yet a christology of sight. So christology is no more than the beginning of eschatology; and eschatology, as the Christian faith understands it, is always the consummation of christology. 3. Finally, but not least important: every way is an invitation. A way is something to be followed. 'The way of Jesus Christ' is not merely a christological category. It is an ethical category too. Anyone who enters upon Christ's way will discover who Jesus really is; and anyone who really believes in Jesus and the Christ of God will follow him along the way he himself took. Christology and christopraxis find one another in the full and completed knowledge of Christ. This christology links dogmatics and ethics in closer detail than in the previous volumes.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Pages   412
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 1995
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800628268  
ISBN13  9780800628260  

Availability  104 units.
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More About Jurgen Moltmann & Margaret Kohl

Jurgen Moltmann Jürgen Moltmann (born 8 April 1926) is a German Reformed theologian who is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the University of Tübingen. Moltmann is a major figure in modern theology and was the recipient of the 2000 University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and was also selected to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures in 1984-1985. He has made significant contributions to a number of areas of Christian theology, including systematic theology, eschatology, ecclesiology, political theology, Christology, pneumatology, and the theology of creation.

Influenced heavily by Karl Barth's theology, Hegel's philosophy of history, and Ernst Bloch's philosophy of hope, Moltmann developed his own 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 Resurrection, which he has labelled a 'theology of hope'. Much of Moltmann's work has been to develop the implications of these ideas for various areas of theology. While much of Moltmann's early work was critiqued by some as being non-Trinitarian, during the latter stages of his career Moltmann has become known for developing a form of Social Trinitarianism. His two most famous works are Theology of Hope and The Crucified God.

Jurgen Moltmann has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Concilium: Theology in the Age of Renewal
  2. Gifford Lectures
  3. Paternoster Theological Monographs

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Way of Jesus Christ?

More Than A Christology  Dec 21, 2007
To read Moltmann's christology is hard work, but well worth it. He has been an influential theologian for nearly a half century in all areas of theology, messianology, christology, pneumatology, trinitology, eschatology and even more, I'm sure. Perhaps what I appreciate most about Moltmann's christology is its interdisciplinary nature. He is not content to isolate christology as a discipline, but powerfully interprets it through multiple lenses. His understanding of Christ is very Trinitarian, and its thrust is eschatological. Though the incarnation is certainly central, his christology is not confined to the historical person of Jesus. His christology is cosmic and universal.

There are seven sections of The Way of Jesus Christ. The first located the field of christology within Old Testament messianology by way of pneumatology. In his self-appropriation of Isaiah 61 and 58 in Luke 4, Jesus declares the agency of the Holy Spirit, and at other points in ministry he links himself with the Son of Man in Daniel 7. Sections 2 and 3 emphasize three components of the messianic identity of Jesus Christ that must be held together: the bringer of the eschatological new creation of all things (emphasized by modernists), the theological child of God (emphasized by traditional christology) and the socially human friend of sinners (emphasized in newer contextual christologies). The historical overemphasis on one aspect over another (and the implications thereof) is fleshed out in Section 2, leading to Moltmann's insistence on dialectical tension between the three.

Section 4 focuses on "The Apocalyptic Sufferings of Christ." Some of Moltmann's influential ideas from his earlier work The Crucified God are expanded upon in this section, discussing the very serious trinitarian implications that are raised in the suffering messiah. How can a good God stand by while his son is crucified by a rebellious humanity? Moltmann suggests a "theology of the pain of God, which means the theology of the divine co-suffering or compassion" (178). God did not cause Jesus' suffering, as if the Trinity could turn on itself. The resurrection is explored in Section 5 not as a historical act but an apocalyptic happening (214), an idea that carries into Section 6, "The Cosmic Christ." Through the two sections, Christ's redemption is emphasized as not merely for humanity, but for "all things." Moltmann here leans heavily on Ephesians and Colossians, with Christ as the head of a new creation, firstborn over all creation, reconciling all things to God. Moltmann concludes with a section on the parousia, which he does not view as a "second coming," but rather as "...the fulfillment of the whole history of Christ, with all that it promises; for it is only with Christ's parousia that `all the tears will be wiped away'. It is only in the parousia that Israel will be redeemed, and this `unredeemed world' created anew" (319).

It is difficult to know where to begin in reflection on this work. One of the most helpful things about it is the sheer vastness of its vision. Moltmann writes a christology that attempts to do justice to Jesus the messiah, and therefore it encompasses all of human history and beyond. Occasionally I would get lost when his reflections went beyond history into this cosmic/apocalyptic mode. Within a christology that is very biblically rooted, it seems that he is merely arguing from logic. Of course, the same could be said about C. S. Lewis' conceptions of time. Regardless, the argument deserves consideration.

He lays out convincing philosophical arguments for the apocalyptic nature of resurrection and parousia, claiming they must not and cannot occur "within history." He says "At [sic] the end of time, the parousia comes to all times simultaneously in a single instant" (317). This is rooted in what Moltmann calls the transience of time. To call something like the resurrection or the parousia "future" or "past" is to completely miss the point. Temporal categories exist because we experience time in this way: past, present and future. Yet when Christ is resurrected, he is raised for all people for all times, and when Christ returns, it is not merely to a point in human history, but to "all times simultaneously." I love the idea, but it needs some time to settle into my heart and mind.

Moltmann argues for an ecological christology which I would like to explore a bit. I mentioned his heavy reliance on Ephesians and Colossians for this theology of the redemption and reconciliation of "all things." This is because "the worship of cosmic forces was a part of their environment...[they] had apparently found themselves faced with the scope of Christ's lordship. The Christian answer was that since Christ is the mediator in the creation of these powers, he is also their redeemer, and therefore their true Lord" (284). Moltmann believes that this approach saved Christianity from becoming just "another religion" in Ephesus and Colossae, because it was not a competitive jockeying for position. Instead, it was integration into the reconciliation and peace of Christ, the ultimate metanarrative not just for humanity, but for the cosmos. Moltmann sees Christ's body, the church as the beginning of this reconciled cosmos, but very importantly he sees the church as an agent for cosmic redemption, not as a means for `churchifying' the world (285). This is a bold call for the church to take seriously its role and responsibility as residents of this planet.
An important Christology  Apr 7, 2005
The Way of Jesus Christ is a highly creative theological work by German scholar and theologian Jürgen Moltmann. In this work Moltmann seeks to present a messianic Christology that reflects a messianic faith. Additionally, he seeks to highlight the links between Judaism and Christianity from that perspective. At the same time, Moltmann blends in perspectives taken from Liberation and Feminists theologies with a few twists of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox thought. All this blended together creates what Moltmann believes is an effective interpretation of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

There are many issues to consider in Moltmann's book. Early in the work, Moltmann expresses concerns regarding the nature of such creeds as Nicaea and Chalcedon. It seems that he respects the decisions of these councils but wants to somehow move beyond them. The title chosen for the work `The Way of Jesus Christ' elicits how he wants to portray Christ; "This shows that I am trying to think of Christ no longer statically, as one person in two natures or as a historical personality. I am trying to grasp him dynamically, in the forward movement of God's history with the world. What I wanted was not an eternal Christology for heaven, but a Christology for men and women who are on the way in the conflicts of history" (xii).

For the traditionalist, this may seem at first a bit threatening but the reader should be careful not to miss the broader issues Moltmann is discussing. In essence, he is seeking "a new interpretation of Christ which will be relevant for the present day" (xv). For Moltmann, this new interpretation seems to lie in an "eschatological framework of messianic hope and apocalyptic expectations" (xv). Because the subject can be complex he breaks it up by presenting what he sees as "the historical mission of Christ in the framework of the messianic hope in history; the sufferings of Christ against the horizon of apocalyptic expectation; and the resurrection of Christ in the light of eschatological vision of the new creation of all things" (xv).

In the first chapter, Moltmann discusses messianic perspectives from Jewish and Christian points of view. In discussing Jesus as the Messiah he notes Judaism's inability to accept Jesus as messiah due to its understanding of redemption. Quoting Martin Buber, "We know more deeply, more truly, that world history has not been turned upside down to its very foundations; that the world has not yet been redeemed. We sense its unredeemedness" (28). The Jewish people see redemption as the perfecting of creation and the ultimate fulfillment of the kingdom of God. Thus, for the Jews, when Messiah comes the world will be redeemed (29). Yet, Christians believe redemption is taking place in the spiritual realm and in what is invisible; that is, in the hearts of people. In an attempt to bring the two faiths together, Moltmann wants to recapture Jesus as messiah in an "eschatologically anticipatory and provisional way" (32-33) that reflects the whole of God's salvation both visibly and invisibly.

In discussing `the messianic mission of Christ,' (73) Moltmann presents some challenging views on the person of Jesus Christ. To understand these views it helps to keep in mind that Moltmann sees Christology as being found not in theological reflection per se, but rather in what he calls "Christo-praxis" (41). "Christo-praxis" is type of Christian ethic that involves a life of discipleship in which people learn who Jesus is through living with and among the poor, sick and oppressed (43). For Moltmann, the mission of Christ is a social mission (100). Jesus came "to bring good news to the poor; to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor" (Isa. 61:1-2). A life of discipleship according to Moltmann will reflect the life of Christ.

It seems then in light of Christo-praxis, Moltmann is not seeking to deal with issues surrounding the two natures of Christ, but rather issues surrounding why Christ came and what he set out to accomplish as Israel's Messiah. Whereas the traditionalist sees importance in the historicity of the major events of Christ's life such his virgin birth and resurrection from the dead, Moltmann seems more interested in seeking the higher meaning of these events in the light of the Jesus' messianic mission.

In considering the virgin birth Moltmann does not see it "as one of the pillars that sustains the New Testament faith in Christ" (79). Instead, Moltmann believes the importance of the virgin birth narratives lie not in the biological facts but in the confession of Jesus as messianic Son of God and "to point at the very beginning of his life to the divine origin of his person" (82). Thus, the overall purpose of the accounts of the virgin birth of Christ is not the historicity of the event but rather to show that Jesus is the divine Son of God and that in Jesus' becoming human the whole of humanity will be healed (85).

In considering the resurrection, Moltmann is less concerned with the historicity of the event and more concerned with its theological implications. Moltmann asserts the event of Christ's resurrection from the tomb is not historically ascertainable because there are no witnesses of him leaving the tomb (243). Moltmann interprets the resurrection as an eschatological event that represents the "creative act of God" (241) in restoring the creation to its original state. In placing hope in the resurrection one is placing hope in the future act of God in overcoming the problem of death in the world and the hope of a new creation in which death and mortality will be vanquished (214), and in the perspective of Judaism all things will be made new and the world will finally be redeemed.

There are many strong points in Moltmann's work `The Way of Jesus Christ.' However, there are weak points as well. For the traditionalist, the weak points lie in the unwillingness of Moltmann to anchor his theology in the historicity of the major events of Christ's life, e.g. the virgin birth, healings and miracles, and the resurrection. Moltmann's theology could be more readily welcomed, if from the start, he noted the presuppositions and intentions of his work. If one pays attention, it seems he is not concerned with historicity but with relevancy. But the danger with relevancy is that without historicity there is no solid ground on which to base one's theology, particularly Christology.

The strengths of Motlmann's theology lie in his highly creative blending of various theological viewpoints to come up with an effective and relevant theology on the person and work of Christ. By choosing not to begin with the framework the Nicaean or Chalcedonian creeds, but moving forward from them, he is forcing the traditionalist and liberal Christian alike to "think outside the box" in terms of what it means to be a Christian in today's post-modern, post-Christian world. His emphasis on the need for Christology to be reflected in "praxis" and discipleship highlights the need for Christians to come down from their intellectual platforms and get their hands dirty by making the gospel relevant and practical in the modern world. While controversial in many respects, Moltmann's work provides many challenges to the Church and will remain relevant for years to come.
Moltmann Does It Again  Dec 1, 2002
Moltmann's recent contribution to christology is a must read for serious students of modern Protestant thought, or for anyone of an intellectual bent who wants to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ. Moltmann's messianic vision of Jesus is particularly powerful, cogent, and supremely relevant in today's world. In fact, it is hard to see how any other christology around today (that I know of) could do such a good job of balancing tradition with contemporary issues.

Moltmann presents both the problems and the strengths of older christologies, and goes on to build his own conception. Particularly notable with respect to the latter are sections 2,4,7, and 8 in part III. What struck me here was Moltmann's portrayal of the Jewishness of Jesus.

His interpretation of the suffering and death of Jesus is also rich and fascinating, particularly his conception of the eucharist as a uniquely Christian experience of time. Moltmann also takes on the real foundation of christology, i.e. the resurrection, with typical erudition and insight. His articulation of the historical meaning involved in this event should interest not only theologians, but also philosophers of history. By far the most ambitious section of the book comes in section VI, where Moltmann tries to reconcile the cosmic vision of Colossians and Ephesians with the Paul's futurist eschatology. Whether or not we all agree with the outcome of this attempt, it makes for incredibly interesting reading. As always, Moltmann is at his best when the issue is eschatology, and his concluding discussion of the parousia is no exception.

In short, this book presents an articulate alternative to the metaphysical christologies of ages past and to the dessicated naturalism of 19th and 20th century liberal theology. As always, age-old dogmas and forgotten concepts come alive in Moltmann's able hands.


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