Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Dietz Lange, Nathan Soderblom Und Seine Zeit

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Dietz Lange, Nathan Soderblom Und Seine Zeit

Article excerpt

Dietz Lange, Nathan Soderblom und seine Zeit. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011. Pp. 480. 49.99 [euro].

Nathan Soderblom was one of the most significant practitioners of "ecclesial theology"--theology done in the service of the church--of the twentieth century, yet today his name is largely unrecognized beyond the community of specialists in ecumenical theology and the history of the modern ecumenical movement. This is tragic, for the contemporary church and world desperately need the sort of ecclesial leadership and theological vision represented by Soderblom, who was the chief architect of the Life and Work Movement, and thus of the foundations for the World Council of Churches; an ardent advocate of peacemaking, as the task of the church in the midst of the First World War, and champion of the League of Nations in its aftermath; awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930, in recognition of his stature as a theologian; and invited to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures in 1930-31, during what turned out to be the final months of Soderblom's life.

A fresh treatment of Soderblon's life and work is long overdue. Previous biographies were published in the heyday of ecumenical excitement, coinciding initially with the official formation of the World Council of Churches and with an explosion of interest in the years immediately after the Second Vatican Council: in English: H. G. G. Herklots, Nathan Soderblom: Apostle of Christian Unity (SCM Press, 1948); Charles J. Curtis, Soderblom: Ecumenical Pioneer (Augsburg, 1967); Bengt Sundkler, Nathan Soderblom: His Life and Work (Lutterworth Press, 1968); and Peter Walters, Nathan Soderblom, A Prophet of Christian Unity (J. Clarke, 1968); in German: Eivind Josef Berggrav, Nathan Soderblom: Genie und Charakter, Okumenische Reihe 4 (Christlicher Zeitschriften-Verlag, 1947); Alfred Otto Schwede, Nathan Soderblom: Ein Lebensbild (Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1967); and Nils Karlstrom, Nathan Soderblom: Seine Entwicklung zum okumenischen Kirchenflihrer (Westfalische Verlagsbuchhandlung Mocker & Jahn, 1968); in Swedish: Tor Andrae, Nathan Soderblom (J. A. Lindblad, 1932); and in French: Jean Georges Henri Hoffmann, Nathan Soderblom: prophete de l'oecumenisme (Editions Labor et Fides, 1948). …

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