Friday 19 May 2006

Your favourite Lutheran theologian

Thanks to all those who voted in the latest poll. A remarkable 47% said that Bonhoeffer was their favourite modern Lutheran theologian, compared to only 5% who voted for Bultmann (even though Bultmann was, of course, a far greater theologian!).

But I was surprised above all by the fact that Eberhard Jüngel—one of the most agonisingly difficult theologians ever to walk God’s good earth—came second with 17%, ahead of Robert Jenson (16%) and Wolfhart Pannenberg (15%). Nothing could have delighted me more, since Jüngel is my own favourite living theologian!

Stay tuned shortly for a poll on your favourite Reformed theologian....


David W. Congdon said...

Eberhard Jüngel makes the point in his essay on Vogel that while a student at Tübingen, Vogel was the only professor who dared offer a critical word against Bonhoeffer's theology. Jüngel states that this is a major problem and that for Bonhoeffer's sake we need to subject his work to a more thorough and honest criticism. Bonhoeffer's legacy is indeed worthy of admiration and imitation, but it does not follow that he is the greatest modern Lutheran theologian.

The state of Protestant theology depends on our ability to distinguish the greatness of the man from his theological work. Just because we criticize Bonhoeffer does not mean we criticize his stance against Nazism. For Germans, the memory of Bonhoeffer is probably quite cathartic. Even so, we owe it to Bonhoeffer to think through his work critically.

Jordan Barrett said...

I agree, Jüngel is insanely difficult to understand. Hence, I shy away from reading him. Perhaps this is too off topic, but any advice to help in reading his stuff?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jordan,

If "help" in reading Jüngel's work includes secondary literature, try John Webster's Eberhard Jüngel: An Introduction to His Theology (1986). It is a clear and thorough study by a scholar who, two decades on, has become a formidable theologian in his own right.

Anonymous said...

you cannot include Barth in your Reformed Theologians. It will be a run away victory!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Joshua, no doubt Karl will take the gold, but it will be interesting to see who take silver and bronze (surely) between Calvin and Schleiermacher (with Moltmann just missing out on the medals). If I am wrong about the top three, I will demand a re-count!

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