The dialogue with Orthodox theology in the ecclesiology of Jurgen Moltmann: Trinitarian theology and pneumatology as the twin pillars of ecclesiology
This dissertation explores Jürgen Moltmann's understanding of trinitarian theology as the framework for ecclesiology. While Moltmann's ecclesiology is christologically founded, and while it is certainly informed by eschatology, the theology of God, and political theology, it is trinitarian theology and pneumatology that provide the pillars on which his ecclesiology stands. ^ In building his ecclesiology, Moltmann's affinity for Orthodox trinitarian theology and pneumatology is clear. However, while he gravitates toward certain eastern precepts, primary among them the perichoresis of the divine community, which then provides the model for the human community, he makes certain adaptations according to his hermeneutic of equality and liberation. Specifically, he does away with the monarchy of the Father that is central to the Orthodox understanding of God, and of the divine perichoresis. Finding the monarchy of the Father to be the root cause of oppression, in the Church and in society, he instead posits the perichoresis of the Trinity as the very nature of God. ^ It is the thesis of this dissertation that, had he retained the monarchy of the Father, Moltmann's overall theology would be better served than through such a re-conception of God's nature. Rather than re-conceive God's nature as community, I would argue that one needs to reinterpret monarchy along the lines of the selfless God who is identified with his creation in the cross of Christ. The retention of the Father as the point of unity within the Trinity, based on a reading of the ecstatic personhood of the Father that, in love and freedom, creates community, would then allow monarchy reinterpreted according to the selfless character of such love and freedom to be a truly constructive way to achieve genuine human community. In the end, besides being a challenge to Moltmann's theology, such a reinterpretation provides a challenge to the Orthodox theology of authority in the Church that takes for granted the monarchy of the Father. ^
Antonios Steve Kireopoulos,
"The dialogue with Orthodox theology in the ecclesiology of Jurgen Moltmann: Trinitarian theology and pneumatology as the twin pillars of ecclesiology"
(January 1, 2003).
ETD Collection for Fordham University.