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Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928–)

Nathan J. Hallanger

Subject Religion » Christianity

Key-Topics theology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405135078.2009.00072.x


Wolfhart Pannenberg was born in 1928 in the city of Stettin, once part of Germany but now part of Poland. As a boy Pannenberg moved with his family to Scheidenmuhl, and to the city of Aachen two years later. While in Aachen he grew increasingly interested in music, having begun piano lessons at the age of seven, writing his own music and listening to the local symphony orchestra. He moved to Berlin in 1942, though Pannenberg and other school-age children were soon sent out of the city for school because of Allied air attacks. The family home was destroyed by bombs in 1944, and Pannenberg moved in with relatives in Pomerania. While in the library searching for books about music, Pannenberg happened upon Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music , and soon he had read as much Nietzsche as he could find. In 1945 Pannenberg experienced an event that would change his life: On the sixth of January, while I was walking back home from school … an extraordinary event occurred in which I found myself absorbed in the light surrounding me. When I became aware again of my finite existence, I did not know what had happened but certainly knew that it was the most important event in my life; I spent many years afterwards to find out what it meant to me. ( Pannenberg, 1988 , 12) Before he had time to reflect on this event, Pannenberg joined the German army. Though he was ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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