Saturday, July 28, 2007

Denkwürdiges Geheimnis: Festschrift for Eberhard Jüngel

Over at Faith & Theology, I’ve just posted a review of this book: Ingolf U. Dalferth, Johannes Fischer, and Hans-Peter Großhans (eds.), Denkwürdiges Geheimnis: Beiträge zur Gotteslehre: Festschrift für Eberhard Jüngel zum 70. Geburtstag (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 653 pp.

Here’s an excerpt from the review:

In their foreword, the editors offer a succinct and acute summary of the central themes of Jüngel’s theology. More than any other theologian, Jüngel “placed God’s advent at the centre of his thought. Since God comes, we must speak of him and we can think him. Without God’s advent, there would be no faith, the Christian would have nothing to say, and Christian theology could not think any truth” (p. ix).

Although God comes always “from himself, to himself and through himself,” he nevertheless comes “to the world and to humans.” Indeed, God comes “as the mystery of the world by showing himself as the human God” (p. x). And this coming of God as the world’s mystery is by no means a “worldly necessity” – on the contrary, it is “more than necessary.” God’s coming “does not follow from any conditions inherent in the world, nor does it fulfil any preceding human needs” (p. x). In other words, God is neither merely possible nor necessary for the world – instead, he is actual, since he freely comes to the world. And because God comes to the world again and again, “we must always speak of him further, and we can never be done with thinking of him” (p. xi).

This has always been Jüngel’s central concern – to engage in the difficult business of thinking God; to think God as the coming one, the one who relates to the world in sheer freedom and actuality, and therefore the one of whom we can truly speak.

In honour of Jüngel, the editors have thus gathered a massive collection of 32 new essays, all centred on the theme of “God and the thinking of God” – since this is the central theme both of all theology and of Jüngel’s entire career (p. xii).

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Mark Mattes has written a great little book, The Role of Justification in Contemporary Theology. In his chapter on Jüngel, he writes,

Theology, for Jüngel, is not primarily construction, as it often is presented today, but Nachdenken, following after the Triune God on the various paths that God has taken and takes. Its constructive work is wholly accountable to the divine journey as presented in the biblical narratives. Both the divine and the human are seen in terms of correspondence--not of mind to thing, but of words to realities which re-orient life and convey God's coming as transcending the opposition between presence and absence. The order of knowing then matches the order of being, being-as-arrival. The order of being is based upon concord, not dissonance that recognizes the irreconcilable disharmony that faith never accords with sight this side of the eschaton... In Jungel the Bultmannian paradox between history and eschatology is channeled into a Barthian analogy of faith, giving rise to the "analogy of advent."