Braucht der Mensch Erlösung?

Die Frage, ob der Mensch Erlösung braucht, ist für das Christentum zentral. Dieser diskussionsfreudige Band legt einen Schwerpunkt auf die Klärung der Erlösungsbedürftigkeit im vielfältigen Beziehungsgeflecht des Menschen zu sich selbst, zu seinen Mitmenschen, zur Welt und zu Gott. Weitere Fragen werden aufgeworfen: Wovon genau und durch wen wird der Mensch erlöst? Auf der Suche nach Antworten wird deutlich, dass Erlösung, die das Leben erschließt, konkret werden muss.

Der Band zur 21. Jahrestagung der Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft für Hermeneutische Theologie dokumentiert aus alt- und neutestamentlicher, kirchenhistorischer, systematisch-theologischer, praktisch-theologischer und jüdischer Perspektive Konzepte zur Beantwortung der aufgeworfenen Fragen.

Mit Beiträgen von Albrecht Grözinger, Lilian Marx-Stölting, Marianne Grohmann, Eckhart Reinmuth, Volker Leppin und Dorothee Schlenke.

Every year the Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft meets and every year they publish the papers of that meeting.  This year’s collection consists of an Introductory chapter by the editors and six chapters:

  • “… Uns Aus Dem Elend zu Erlösen”, by Albrecht Grözinger
  • Erlösung Durch Genetechnologien, by Lilian Marx-Stölting
  • Zur Erlösungsbedürftigkeit des Menschen in Psalmen, by Marianne Grohmann
  • Erlösung, by Eckhart Reinmuth
  • Erlösung, Verkollkommnung, Rückkehr, by Volker Leppin
  • Differenzerfahrung und Personale Integrität, by Dorothee Schlenke

The little collection concludes with a short biography of each contributor.

The essays tend towards the esoteric end of the intellectual spectrum.  That’s not a bad thing in this instance, though, because each essay is what I would term ‘mind stretching’.  They force readers to think ‘outside the box’ on an issue that, obviously, is central to Christian theology.  As the English description of the book on the publisher’s website puts it (for those for whom the German above is out of reach)

The question of whether a human being needs salvation is central to Christianity. A „no” would mean his or her end. That is why this volume focuses on demonstrating the need for salvation of the individual in his or her entire reality of life. Furthermore, however, this need for salvation requires clarification in the manifold network of relationships of the human person to himself, to his fellow human beings, to the world and to God, and thus calls for further questions: From what exactly and through whom is man redeemed? When searching for answers, it becomes clear that salvation, which reveals life, must become concrete.

132 pages is hardly enough space to solve all of the problems such questions raise, but the essayists do a brilliant job of shedding enough light so that those willing to invest the mental energy in their work will reap a plentiful harvest of understanding.

The volume on the 21st Annual Conference of the Rudolf Bultmann Society for Hermeneutic Theology documents concepts for answering the questions raised from the perspectives of Old and New Testament, Church history, systematic theology, practical theology and Judaism.

Consequently, this volume belongs on the shelves of systematic theologians and in the hearts of those who really, deeply care about theological core issues.  Please do read it.  Even if that means you have to learn German to do it.  Invest in it.  Absorb it.  Ponder it.  Reject those parts you find objectionable and make use of those parts which make eminent sense to you.  No greater honor can be bestowed on such a worthy little volume.

%d bloggers like this: