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Title: Jürgen Moltmann's Critical Reception of K. Barth's Theopaschitism
Author(s): STEEN, M.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 67    Issue: 4   Date: December 1991   
Pages: 278-311
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.67.4.556019

Abstract :
Theopaschitism, the theory which voices or understands God as the suffering one, has achieved growing success since the last century. The theme of the suffering God has been developed in an epoch-making way by the Protestant theologian, Jürgen Moltmann. His view is anchored in a context of concrete 'crucifying experiences'. The terrifying oppression of the second World War strongly influenced the thoughts of the young German. In line with the Protestant theologia crucis, Moltmann believes that the foundations of a genuine Christian discourse about God are rooted in the crucified Christ. It is striking that he stresses the significance of the cross for God Himself in such a way that the cross can be radically conceived as 'God's potentiality'. Indeed, Moltmann aims at a very far-reaching and specifically 'theological' interpretation of the cross of Christ. For, according to him, God gives a definition of Himself on the cross. God's being revealed in Jesus' suffering. More precisely: the passionate trinatarian God has revealed and constituted Himself in the painful abandonment of the Son on the cross. Moltmann intends 'to understand the suffering of Christ as divine suffering'. In his opinion, divine suffering can only be adequately understood as suffering which takes place in God as a trinitarian process. Therefore, however, a 'revolution in the concept of God' is necessary. Just how far-reaching this 'revolution' is, can discerned in Moltmann's confrontation with Karl Barth's view on the suffering of God. We will begin the characterizing some important aspects of Barth's theopaschitism.

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