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Jürgen Moltmann (1926–)

Ryan A. Neal

Subject Religion » Christianity

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics theology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405135078.2009.00069.x


Jürgen Moltmann is one of the most widely published and influential theologians of the postwar period. Concerned with issues relevant to both Western and non-Western worlds, Moltmann ventures into doctrines relevant to Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theology. This article examines Moltmann through three areas of interest: (1) generative experiences and influences; (2) major themes of his theology; and (3) significance. Born April 8, 1926 in Hamburg, Germany, Moltmann grew up in a secular “enlightened” family, wishing to study science and mathematics, viewing Einstein, Planck, and Heisenberg as “heroes” ( Moltmann, 1980 , 7; Moltmann, 1997 , 3). His focus changed dramatically during his experience as a prisoner of war: after surrendering in February 1945, he spent the next three years as a prisoner of war in three locales: Mass Camp 2226 in Zedelgam, Belgium; Labour Camp 22 in Kilmarnock, Scotland; and finally in Norton Camp near Nottingham, England ( Moltmann, 1997 , 3; Moltmann, 1980 , 7). These proved to be formative years. As a soldier his reading material consisted of the works of Nietzsche as well as Goethe's poems and Faust. As a POW, an American military chaplain gave him a copy of the New Testament and the Psalms. His entrée into studying theology and scripture began in Norton Camp, where the YMCA supplied a theological library and brought in speakers. He heard lectures ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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