Brunner, Emil

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Brunner, Emil

Emil Brunner (ā´mēl brŏŏn´ər), 1889–1966, Swiss Protestant theologian. A clear and systematic thinker from the school of dialectical theology, he was a professor of theology at the Univ. of Zürich (1924–53) and Christian Univ., Tokyo (1953–55). He several times visited and lectured in the United States. Like Karl Barth he challenged the leaders of modern rational and liberal Christian theology and proclaimed a theology of revelation. The Christian faith, he maintained, arises from the encounter between individuals and God as He is revealed in the Bible. Brunner, in attempting later to leave a place for natural theology in his system, came into conflict with Barth over the question of natural revelation. Brunner refused to accept the radical divorce between grace and human consciousness that Barth proposed. His more important works include Die Mystik und das Wort (1924), Der Mittler (1927, tr. The Mediator, 1934), Das Gebot und die Ordnungen (1932, tr. The Divine Imperative, 1937), Der Mensch in Widerspruch (1937, tr. Man in Revolt, 1939), Wahrheit als Begegung (1938, tr. The Divine-Human Encounter, 1943), and Christianity and Civilization (2 vol., 1948–49).

See study by J. Edward Humphrey (1984).

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