An in-depth study of Kierkegaard's thinking on Christology, emphasising the radical nature of his approach to the incarnation, with an emphasis on the call of the Christian believer to a life of 'kenotic' (self-emptying) discipleship in imitation of Christ.
The theological energies released by Martin Luther in 1517 created a set of theological insights and problems that eventually led to the development of kenotic Christology. This article traces how kenotic Christology originated in the Eucharistic Controversy between Luther and Zwingli, before receiving its first extensive treatment in the debate between the Lutheran theologians of Tübingen and Giessen in,the early seventeenth century. Attention then turns to the nine-teenth century, when doctrinal tensions resulting from the enforced union of the Prussian Lutheran (...) and Reformed churches created the conditions for a new flowering of kenotic Christology in the theologies of Ernst Sartorius and, subsequently, Gottfried Thomasius. Kenotic Christology ultimately originates with Luther, however, for it owes its existence to the creative theological energies he unleashed and which remain his lasting legacy. (shrink)
This chapter provides a survey of Kierkegaard's views of systematic theology, doctrine, and dogmatics. It demonstrates that while Kierkegaard's view of theology is generally negative, for he regards it as a human enterprise created in order to avoid doing God's Word, his attitude to doctrine and dogmatics is nuanced and complex. Kierkegaard rejects doctrine insofar as it objectifies Christianity, but nevertheless generally accepts the classic doctrines of the Christian faith and sees no reason to reform them. This ambivalence toward doctrine (...) stems from his conviction that the task facing the believer is not to reflect on doctrine, but to appropriate and apply it existentially to his/her own individual existence. Similarly, although Kierkegaard rejects the efforts of contemporary dogmaticians, dogmatics itself is valid insofar as it reproduces the paradoxical character of Christianity and the decision between faith and offense with which Christian dogmas confront every human being. (shrink)
This chapter analyses Soren Kierkegaard's thought about the history of theology, discussing different notions of historical theology and evaluating how they apply to the way Kierkegaard engaged with history of theology. It explains the two key elements of the Kierkegaardian historical theology: tracking the process of decline from the Christianity of the New Testament to the enfeebled caricature that passed for Christianity in contemporary Denmark; and recovering the voices of the true Christians of the past who genuinely followed Christ in (...) suffering and martyrdom. (shrink)
This essay examines the theology of the nineteenth century Danish theologian and churchman Hans Lassen Martensen, focusing on the disputed question of the kenotic character of Martensen's Christology. A survey of the scholarship on this question is followed by discussions of Martensen's doctrine of God and his Christology, giving particular attention to his controversial notion of the double life of the Logos, i. e. the view that the Logos continued to enjoy an unlimited divine existence in the sphere of eternity (...) while simultaneously living a limited, earthly human existence for the duration of the incarnation. The essay concludes by arguing that Martensen has developed a form of Nestorianism and that his Christology can best be classified as ‘Nestorian kenoticism,’ i. e. an eccentric and problematic form of Christology which affirms the abandonment by the logos ensarkos of the divine attributes during the incarnation, while at the same time insisting that the logos asarkos remains unaffected and in full possession of his powers. (shrink)