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From Christ’s Death to Jesus’ Life

A Critical Reinterpretation of Prevailing Theories of the Cross- Translated by Joyce J. Michael

Jakub S. Trojan

This book began to materialize in the 1960s and 1970s during clandestine seminars organized by the author for Czechoslovak thinkers who dared to ponder theological questions during the communist era. It therefore provides a revealing glimpse of some of the issues that were of concern to people living under the domination of both the Nazi and communist regimes. This aspect of the book is evident in its emphasis on questions of theodicy which are raised by the idea that Jesus’ death was initiated by God.
At the same time, the book is very much concerned with contemporary issues. By analyzing traditional understandings of the cross held by a number of prominent theologians, the author seeks to address the fact that classic theories of the atonement do not speak in a compelling way to today’s secularized, post-Christian milieu. After examining perspectives that place central emphasis on the salvific consequence of Jesus’ death, the author presents his own views regarding the significance that Jesus’ life may have for the present age. He challenges his readers to venture a living interpretation of Scripture and explores the possibility that God’s plan of salvation is most faithfully represented by the compassion and justice that Jesus modelled throughout his entire life.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements xii Preface xiii Translator’s Introduction xvii Introduction 1 Part I The Theology of the Cross in the Czech Protestant Tradition During the Twentieth Century 25 Chapter 1 Josef Lukl Hromádka: The Significance of the Cross for the Journeys of a Protestant Theologian 27 Chapter 2 The Message of the Cross in the Theology of Josef Bohumil Souček 47 Chapter 3 The Topic of Christology in the Work of Petr Pokorný 79 Chapter 4 Jan Heller’s Ref lections on the Cross 115 viii Part II Dialogue with European Theologians and Kazoh Kitamori 131 Chapter 5 Karl Barth and Our Theme 133 Chapter 6 Wolfhart Pannenberg: Grundzüge der Christologie 151 Chapter 7 Hendrikus Berkhof and his Dogmatics: Christian Faith 167 Chapter 8 Jürgen Moltmann: Der gekreuzigte Gott 179 Chapter 9 Debate over Der gekreuzigte Gott 225 Chapter 10 Rudolf Bultmann and his Programme of Demythologization 259 Chapter 11 Kazoh Kitamori: Theologie des Schmerzes Gottes 265 Chapter 12 Friedrich Gogarten: Die Verkündigung Jesu Christi 279 Chapter 13 Eberhard Jüngel’s View of the Cross 289 ix Chapter 14 The Cross in the Interpretation of Gerhard Ebeling 297 Chapter 15 Paul Tillich’s View of the Cross 307 Part III The Author’s Interpretation of Jesus’ Story 313 Chapter 16 Jesus’ Story: A Challenge for Us 315 Chapter 17 An Attempt at Reinterpreting Jesus’ Story 381 A Word in Conclusion 425 Bibliography 427 Index 439

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