Friday, February 04, 2011

Jüngel on Jesus as the bread of life

Picture from
I’ve been reading an Eberhard Jüngel sermon on John 6:32-35, today, a text in which Christ speaks of himself as ‘the bread of life’ (found in volume 3 of Jüngel’s Predigten: Schmecken und Sehen, Radius 2003)

A few sound bites from the great theologian and preacher:
Glauben heißt in der Bibel oft nichts anderes als satt werden, an Leib und Seele satt werden
('Faith in the Bible often means nothing but being satisfied, in body and soul satisfied')
Auch die Kirche sollte sich davor hüten, das Brot des Lebens zu einem religiösen Pharmakon verkommen zu lassen
('... also the Church should be careful not to allow 'the Bread of Life' to become a religious medicinal cure [Pharmakon]')
Jesus Christus stillt den Hunger nach Leben so, dass nun erst recht der Lebensappetit erwacht
('Jesus Christ satisfies the hunger for life in such a way that then awakens the appetite for life')

He is the kind of preacher who educates his listeners almost without them knowing it. His biblical expositions are doused with liberal citations from Luther and wider literature without it sounding, at least to my ears, pompous. Others of us would claim it as a promotion to even be considered pompous!

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."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Praying with Jüngel

I have recently wondered if the best place to start with Jüngel’s theology is his prayers. It is certainly the quickest way to see what makes his heart beat, and helps grasp his Trinitarian vision. At the end of his fourth volume of sermons (the new Radius series), Unterbrechungen, there is a collection of some of his most delightful and usually thoroughly Trinitarian prayers. Also, I’m rather pleased to have found an English translation of Jüngel's Trinitarian Prayers for Christian Worship (a pdf file) on the web. I think this file contains most of the prayers found at the end of Unterbrechungen.

My suggestion in a nutshell: To understand Jüngel is first to learn to pray with Jüngel.

Herr Gott, barmherziger Vater!
Wir danken Dir, dass Du allein unser Richter bist.
Das lässt uns hoffen.
Das gibt uns Mut.
Denn Du richtest uns mit Gerechtigkeit und mit Barmherzigkeit.
Herr erbarme Dich unser!

Lieber Herr Jesus Christus!
Dich loben wir, der Du Dich für uns hast richten lassen.
Du hast Dich für uns alle aus Liebe dahingegeben.
Das gibt uns Vertrauen.
Das macht uns frei.
Denn deine Liebe ist stark wie der Tod.
Deine Liebe befreit uns aus unserer Schuld
Und macht uns frei von den Mächten, denen wir verfallen sind.
Deine Liebe führt uns an die Seite Gottes des Vaters,
wo Du für uns eintrittst
und die Welt regierst mit Gnade und Barmherzigkeit.
Christe, erbarme Dich unser!

Komm, Heiliger Geist,
und rede mit uns, dass wir hellhörig werden in dieser schwerhörigen Welt.
Komm, Heiliger Geist,
und wecke uns auf aus den Alpträumen, die uns bedrücken.
Komm, Heiliger Geist,
und erneuere uns durch und durch,
dass wir in dieser gewalttätigen Welt zu Werkzeugen des Friedens und mitten im Unrecht zu Zeugen der Barmherzigkeit werden.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Posts on Eberhard Jüngel

I have compiled a list of my posts on Eberhard Jüngel at my blog, The Fire and the Rose. I offer these in the hope that Jüngel will gain a wider English-speaking readership.

Bibliography of Works in English
Eberhard Jüngel: Bibliography of Works in English

On the Doctrine of Justification: A Series
Eberhard Jüngel: On the Doctrine of Justification

Quotes from Jüngel
Eberhard Jüngel: Faith as Life Lived Extra Se
Eberhard Jüngel: God is only made known by God in God's Word
God’s Being Is in Becoming: God’s Passion
Eberhard Jüngel: A more natural theology
Eberhard Jüngel: I believe, therefore I suffer
Eberhard Jüngel: I believe, therefore I am
Eberhard Jüngel: I believe, therefore I act

Monday, March 26, 2007

Jungel and Thomas

Hi all,

what do you make of Jungel's engagement of Thomas on analogy, especially in light of the new reading of Thomas from Burrell, Kerr, Rogers, et all? My initial reaction is that there is something remiss in Jungel's reading of Thomas. I think it's a neglect of the tertia pars and its controlling christological function, but I'd like to hear what others think.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

A neglected blog

I apologize. I have neglected this blog and failed to put forth any energy in new posts. I hope this will change in the near future. I have been too busy to finish my Gottes Sein ist im Werden series, so hopefully I will get around to that soon.