Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In Memoriam: Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928-2014)

Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg died Friday, September 6 at the age of 85. Pannenberg's former student Philip Clayton, a theologian at Claremont School of Theology, has blogged a nice personal tribute on Tony Jones' blog.

Most theological students recognize Pannenberg's name as a theologian mentioned in their systematic theology courses, probably in connection with concepts of revelation and Christology (the two loci in which I consistently reference Pannenberg in my courses at Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity). Fewer may be familiar with his work as an ecumenist. In my article “Ecumenical Theology and/as Systematic Theology,” Ecumenical Trends 38, no.9 (October 2009): 6/134-9/137, 15/143, I wrote this about Pannenberg's ecumenical work:

The close relationship between ecumenical and systematic theology is epitomized by the career of Wolfhart Pannenberg, who long served in the dual role of Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Institute of Ecumenical Theology at the University of Munich, participated actively in various forums for ecumenical dialogue, wrote extensively on ecumenical themes, and treated each of the systematic loci with ecumenical comprehensiveness in his three-volume Systematic Theology with the purpose of contributing to the ecumenical goal of the visible unity of the church clearly in mind (p. 7/135).

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