The future of Jesus Christ : a constructive analysis of the development of the eschatological structure of Jurgen Moltmann's theology, 1964-1996
While eschatology provides the abiding horizon of Jürgen Moltmann's theology, the centre of his thinking, which conditions the contours of that horizon, is christology. In Part One, this thesis provides an analysis of the methodological considerations which shape Moltmann's christology. It demonstrates how Moltmann's elected hermeneutic strategy of interpreting Jesus within the horizon of promise enables his christology to determine the eschatological structure of his theology. Part Two then examines the actual product of this method. It analyses the succession of christologically determined models of the relationship between eschatology and history that can be found in moving from Theology of Hope to The Coming of God. Both the conceptual development of one idea from another, as well as the chronological development of ideas over time, are thus examined. In this thesis, however, analysis also serves the purpose of theological construction. Where Moltmann's proposals are seen to run into difficulty suggestions are made for how the tensions observed may be resolved in accordance with Moltmann's own root theological assumptions. The fundamental problem of Moltmann's eschatology is perceived to be the lack of an explicit account of how eschatological transcendence is related to historical becoming. In Part One this leads to the provision of a model of the inter-relationship of Jesus' universal (eschatological) significance and his particular relevance for the multifarious situations of the present creation. In Part Two this same problem leads to the construction of a christological model in which Jesus becomes in time who he is in adventus (the transcendent future). Achieving this comprehensively necessitates the provision of an account of the distinction and unity of the divinity and humanity of the one person of Christ. Only so does it prove possible to distinguish appropriately between what the one future of the new creation will mean for God and creation respectively. The thesis concludes by demonstrating the breadth of applicability of the christological insights developed by utilising them to address the question of the relationship between the economic and immanent Trinity.