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A Short Course on Pannenberg

Wolfhart Pannenberg

Wolfhart Pannenberg

Coming into Seminary out of undergraduate studies in Chemistry was frustrating to me. I had learned a scientific way of looking at knowledge — and theology seemed to have little understanding of inductive method or the theory of knowledge. Many theologians — including highly admired ones like Karl Barth — seemed to me to be fideists — arguing that faith justified itself. Rudolf Bultmann also falls into this category — and for him, it’s not clear to me that this faith has any real-world implications. Only much later did I discover the theological writing of Wolfhart Pannenberg — the first theologian I read who addressed the questions I had been asking for a long time.

So, I owe a great debt to Pannenberg’s theology — though, of course (as with everyone else I read) I don’t agree with everything he ever wrote or said.

Well, I discovered some very fine videos over at YouTube that serve as a good introduction to the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg.

The first one serves as a short biography and introduction to Pannenberg and his thought. It also discusses the book Revelation as History.

The second one focuses on Pannenberg’s Christology:


These videos are part of a larger Timeline project. There are a large series of videos produced by St. John’s College in Nottingham, and many important theologians and philosophers are introduced and discussed.

I recommend Stanley J. Grenz’s introduction to the theology of Pannenberg: Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg . Grenz studied under Pannenberg, and this book is a good overview of Pannenberg’s lengthy Systematic Theology. Pannenberg is often hard to read (and his later writings are more difficult than his earlier ones), so an accessible introduction is helpful.

For those who want to go further, I also recommend The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology: Wolfhart Pannenberg and the New Theological Rationality by F. LeRon Shults. This book shows the relevance of Pannennberg’s theology to the emerging post-modern understanding of knowledge. I recommend it highly to all those interested  in epistemology as it relates to theological concerns.


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