Pannenberg on Patristic Theology

These last few months I have been dabbling in and out of Pannenberg’s earlier theology to get a sense of how Moltmann is influenced by him and attempts to present an alternative to his theology of history in Theology of Hope. This morning I have been looking at some of the responses that Pannenberg offers to Moltmann’s critiques. I came across this insight on patristic theology that I would like to share:

“As a student I was deeply impressed by the unity of faith and reason in patristic theology. Since that time I have considered the age of patristic theology as a model of what Christian theology should achieve in our own time.”

Pannenberg, “A Response to My American Friends,” in Braaten and Clayton, ed., The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg, 316.

I was taken by this because I still find pre-modern theologians very difficult to read. I have loved working my way through Augustine’s De Trinitate, though his exegesis is hard to appreciate after having been trained in and constantly exposed to historical-critical methods. For Pannenberg, though, the exegesis of the patristics is not something to be pitied but celebrated, something from which modern theology can learn much.


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