Review Pannenberg Intro Systematic Theology

Pannenberg, Wolfhart.  An Introduction to Systematic Theology.  Eerdmans.

An Introduction to Systematic Theology by Wolfhart Pannenberg

A fantastic read, but ended in a let down. Pannenberg rightly suggests that a lot of our categories for doing systematic theology are not only outdated, but a few are contradictory and wildly at odds with the Hebrew narrative. Our understanding of God, for example, owes more to the quasi-heretic Origen’s definition of God-as-mind (that is how Origen glossed “pneuma” in John 4:24ff), which raises problems when we discuss God’s immutability, infinity, and other doctrines. Interestingly,  John of Damascus and essentially everyone else in the ancient world followed Origen on this point. Glossing pneuma as spirit in the Hebraic sense solves all these problems.

The take on Creation was good.

The Christology section was a let down. He did a great job emphasing the Hebraic-ness of Jesus but conceded to much to neo-Protestantism and didn’t deal with the potential tensions in Chalcedonian ontology.

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3 comments on “Review Pannenberg Intro Systematic Theology

  1. Andrew says:

    How does Pannenberg differentiate ‘spirit’ and ‘mind’?

    • Olaf's Axe says:

      I read this nine months ago from an interlibrary loan. Long story short, Pannenberg’s “spirit” is active whereas Origen’s concept of “mind” is impassible and passive. To be honest, I can’t recall his specific take.

      • Andrew says:

        Ah, fair enough.

        I wouldn’t say that mind is necessarily impassable and passive – Kantianism, for instance. Origen’s concept (probably) owes a lot to his Neoplatonism.

        There’s also the interesting issue of the relationship between spirit and mind

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