Eduard Thurneysen (1888-1974) was a close friend and confidant of Karl Barth. Whereas Barth pursued an academic career in theology, Thurneysen was committed to pastoral ministry. For him, the church is the "Existenzgrund" and subject of all theology as the gathered congregation is addressed and shaped by God’s living Word. Cast in Barth’s long shadow, Thurneysen has often been overlooked in scholarship. However, he is a significant theologian in his own right, focusing on questions of pastoral care, the church, popular culture and the intersection of theology with other disciplines (such as psychology). In short, his theology is earthed in the messy and ordinary reality of being human.
In this book, Jordan Redding argues that Thurneysen’s theology of being human continues to offer much to the church today. Thurneysen realized that the practice of pastoral care reflects assumptions about what it means to be human. Conversely, pastoral practices articulate, embody, and inform theological anthropology. Thurneysen’s theology of being human is therefore deeply practical. This book is for anyone interested in the intersection of theological anthropology with pastoral practice of the church. It is also recommended for anyone interested in practical questions emerging from Barth’s Theology of the Word.
Jordan Redding (Ph.D., University of Otago) is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and teaches courses on Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.
Part One: Eduard Thurneysen on Being Human
Chapter One: Strong Impressions and Inspirations
Chapter Two: The Human Being Crying Out for Life
Chapter Three: The Human Being and the Wisdom of Death
Chapter Four: The Human Being Claimed by Christ the Lord
Chapter Five: The Human Being under the Judgment of the Cross
Chapter Six: The Human Being as Personal Ganzheit under the Claim of God
Part Two: Theological Anthropology in New Orientations
Chapter Seven: Theological Anthropology as Practical Task
In conversation with Ray Anderson
Chapter Eight: Theological Anthropology as Pastoral Task
In conversation with John Swinton
Chapter Nine: Theological Anthropology in the Horizon of Hope
In conversation with Jürgen Moltmann
This is a wonderful study. Contributing to the growing appreciation of Thurneysen as a significant theologian in his own right, Redding offers an insightful account of Thurneysen’s theology of pastoral care. As Redding so ably demonstrates, Thurneysen’s theological anthropology has many edifying implications for understanding the human being in light of their eschatological identity in Christ. Redding maps with great care the shape of practical theological anthropology anchored in the proclamation of the Word with a view to nourishing the church’s praxis.
This book fills a gap in the literature about early 20th century theology. Thurneysen, life-long friend of Karl Barth, made his own distinctive contribution, particularly to the discussion of pastoral theology and theological anthropology. The book gives a splendid account of Thurneysen’s theological development and ends with three chapters which bring him into ‘conversation’ with three contemporary authors, including Moltmann, who propose areas for expansion. This book should be of interest to all who preach the gospel.
Jordan Redding takes readers on an exciting journey into the realm of practical theology. Following the biography of Eduard Thurneysen in its historical and theological context, Redding provides an illuminating view of the development of Thurneysen’s theological anthropology in light of his focus on community and pastoral care, the coming of God’s kingdom, and the vexing questions of modern life. Placing Thurneysen in conversation with more recent theologians, Redding convincingly demonstrates Thurneysen's enduring relevance.