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Jürgen Moltmann, leading Protestant theologian, dies at 98

June 06, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: Jürgen Moltmann, a leading Protestant theologian, died on June 3 at the age of 98. The World Council of Churches described him as “the most widely read Christian theologian of the post-war era.”

A German Reformed theologian, Moltmann once said that Christ found him in a POW camp in Scotland after a chaplain gave him a copy of the New Testament. His works combined “central themes of Christian theology, including Christology, the doctrine of the Trinity, the theme of creation and the message of the kingdom of God with a sense of contemporary and future-oriented political, social and ecological responsibility and offer many points of contact with work in the Roman Catholic and other traditions,” according to a 2005 ecumenical dialogue report.

Moltmann enriched the world, “in a significant and unique way, with his reflection and his testimony, sowing, in many men and women, not only Christians, the joyful hope in the light of Christ to reform the Church and change the world,” theologian Riccardo Burigana wrote in a tribute in the Vatican newspaper.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Moltmann jointly contributed to the book The End of Time? The Provocation of Talking about God. “While Benedict does not accept the whole of Moltmann’s theological work, he respects and admires it,” according to a 2017 doctoral dissertation.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 07, 2024 12:30 AM ET USA

    I glanced over relevant sections of Vallery's doctoral dissertation, but failed to see how he arrived at the opinion that Benedict admired Moltmann's theological work. Both Vallery and Moltmann seem at odds with Benedict's Catholic theology of salvation and how it is achieved, so even though I might acknowledge that Benedict could respect some aspects of Moltmann's theological perspectives, I cannot see how he could respect, not to mention admire, the whole of Moltmann's theological work.