Systematic Theology - Vol. 1

Systematic Theology - Vol. 1

Systematic Theology - Vol. 1

Systematic Theology - Vol. 1


Widely regarded as the foremost theologian in the world today, Wolfhart Pannenberg here unfolds his long-awaited systematic theology, for which his many previous (primarily methodological) writings have laid the groundwork.

Marked by a creative blend of philosophical, historical, anthropological, and exegetical analysis, Volume 1 focuses on the Christian doctrine of God, offering original material on the concept of truth, the nature of revelation, language about God, the nature of the Trinity, and the public aspect of theology.


A general presentation of Christian doctrine often goes under the title “systematic theology” because the author wishes to avoid the term “dogmatics.” Such is not the case here. in this context the title must be taken quite literally. We shall be expressing the subject matter of dogmatics in all its variety as the unfolding of the Christian idea of God. Toward this end the first chapter begins with a discussion of the concept of theology.

For a long time I held to the idea that a presentation of this kind should concentrate solely on the essential coherence of the dogmatic themes, leaving to one side the confusing profusion of historical questions in order to bring out more clearly the systematic unity of Christian doctrine in its entirety. Only reluctantly did I come to the conclusion that a presentation of Christian doctrine in this form would have to be abandoned so as to maintain the precision, discrimination, and objectivity that are desirable and attainable in scientific investigation.

For one thing, Christian doctrine is from first to last a historical construct. Its content rests on the historical revelation of God in the historical figure of Jesus Christ and on the precise evaluation, by historical interpretation alone, of the testimony that early Christian proclamation gives to this figure. Its terminology, which has evolved since apostolic times in attempts to formulate the universal scope of the divine action in the person and history of Jesus, cannot be understood apart from its place within the history of these attempts. This is true initially of the concept of theology itself, and it holds good for all its basic concepts. the function of each of these can be fully understood only when its historical point of . . .

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