Moltmann on Christmas Joy

Duccio di Buoninsegna – The Nativity between Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (Image Source, Wikimedia Commons)

In his new book, The Living God and the Fullness of Life, Moltmann argues that the Christian festivals (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost) exemplify Christianity as a religion of joy. This was also a theme in Moltmann’s conversation with Miroslav Volf last year, and in his essay over on the Yale Theology of Joy website (sidebar: this same essay appears to also be included in the new book, Joy and Human Flourishing – check it out!).

I thought this short section on Christmas would be very appropriate for reflection this season. I’ll visit this part of the book again with his statements about Easter and Pentecost during the appropriate times. Enjoy! Continue reading

Moltmann on Christ’s Birth by the Spirit

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst

“Adoration of the Shepherds” by Gerard van Honthorst

I shared here before some selections from The Way of Jesus Christ that demonstrate the way that Moltmann wrestled with the historical question of the virgin birth (in a way that is not all that dissimilar from Wolfhart Pannenberg’s treatment of this topic). He follows this up with an excellent theological discussion of Christ’s birth by the Spirit.

Here Moltmann points out that there are two streams of tradition in the church: 1) Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. 2) Behind the human motherhood of Mary is the “motherhood of the Holy Spirit”.

But what is the theological intention of these claims? And what must we say theologically about Christ’s birth by the Spirit today? Continue reading