Moltmann-March! Reading Jürgen Moltmann: Where to Begin

Cheers, Professor Moltmann!

In my email newsletter I dubbed this March a “Moltmannian-March” in celebration of the theology of Jürgen Moltmann. To kick off the celebration here’s a list of books to check out by or on Moltmann, for either an introduction to his thought, or to study a particular subject. Enjoy!

Best Introductory Books

Jesus Christ for Today’s World — this is my go-to recommendation for anyone wanting a clear and concise introduction to Moltmann. Many of the major themes of Moltmann’s theology can be found here, and they are presented in a very approachable manner.

The Living God and the Fulness of Life — released last year, this is another great introduction to Moltmann, especially to his mature work. It’s a continuation of his early book The Spirit of Lifebut contains a great discussion of God’s omnipotence in a manner essential to Moltmann’s thought. I’ve written up a bit on this book here.

In the End—the Beginning — this is a good introduction to Moltmann’s eschatology for those daunted by the difficult Theology of Hope or the thorough The Coming of GodA great resource, and clearly written.

A Broad Place — this is Moltmann’s auto-biography, and an essential book for understanding not only the theology by the theologian himself, his development and life.

The Crucified God — why not begin with this famous book which established Moltmann as a foremost theologian of our time? This was the first book I read by Moltmann, it’s accessible enough for anyone to tackle. Go for it!

Books by Subject

The Trinity: For Moltmann’s work on the Trinity, check out The Trinity and the KingdomThis is also a fascinating work on the suffering of God. It’s my personal favorite book Moltmann has written, it’s a beautiful study.

Eschatology (last things): I’ve mentioned these already, but for Moltmann’s eschatology check out Theology of Hope and The Coming of GodThe latter contains Moltmann’s fullest treatment of eschatology, while the former is his famous thesis that all theology should be eschatologically oriented.

Pneumatology (Holy Spirit): Moltmann’s major work on the Holy Spirit is in The Spirit of Life: A Universal AffirmationAlso check out The Source of Life for a shorter book on similar themes. The Living God and the Fulness of Life, as I’ve already mentioned, is also an important book for Moltmann’s thoughts on the Spirit of God. These books were particularly fascinating to me, as I’m someone who grew up in a charismatic/methodist church.

Christology (Jesus Christ): Moltmann’s dedicated book of Christology is The Way of Jesus ChristIt’s a very fascinating book, which offers a unique perspective on the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Creation: God in Creation is Moltmann’s doctrine of creation, in which he presents his panentheistic vision of the world God made. A fascinating book. I’ve written some about this idea here.

Ecclesiology (the church): Though I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, The Church in the Power of the Spirit contains Moltmann’s ecclesiology, his doctrine of the church.

Notable Mentions

Here are a few more notable books that I’ve read and enjoyed by Moltmann, but which don’t necessarily fit into either of the above categories.

God for Secular SocietyI shared a great quote from this book here.

The Passion for Life: A Messianic Lifestyle

Jürgen Moltmann: Collected ReadingsA “greatest hits” sort of book.

Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian TheologyThis is one I’ve had on my shelf for way too long without reading it. But it’s another great one to check out.

Secondary Literature

These are books by others writing about Moltmann. I haven’t spent much time reading secondary literature on Moltmann, but there are a few notable books worth checking out to explore Moltmann’s thought. Though I’d always recommend reading Moltmann and forming your own opinion of him firsthand before ever reading opinions from someone else.

The Annihilation of Hell by Nicholas Ansell. This is an excellent study on Moltmann’s (hopeful) universalism. I’ve written several article on this book. Here’s my review and another post exploring Moltmann’s “Certain” hope. I highly recommend this book, so much so that I named it among my 12 favorite books for 2016. Perfect for anyone interested in Universalism and Moltmann.

Richard Bauckham is often considered to be one of the leading scholars of Moltmann, and his two books are well worth checking out: The Theology of Jürgen Moltmann and God Will Be All in AllThe latter deals specifically with Eschatology, and includes several chapters by Moltmann alongside Miroslav Volf and Trevor Hart.

And would you allow me a little shameless self-promotion in closing? I’ve written a book on Moltmann that I think is worth checking out. It’s called Where Was God?  In this book you’ll read a fictional conversation between four friends discussing in the theodicy question. The purpose was to contrast Moltmann’s answer to God and suffering with three other answers common to theology and philosophy. Best of all this book is yours free when you sign up for my Readers’ Group. But you can also get a physical copy through Amazon. Okay, self promotion over. Now go and read some Moltmann!

Happy March, and happy reading!

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