God en de geschiedenis: een christologisch dilemma – De herijking van het Godsbeeld en de christologie in het werk van zeven Nederlandse theologen in de twintigste eeuw

A.W. van Wilgenburg

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


    God and history: a Christological dilemma – The reconfiguration of the image of God and Jesus Christ by seven twentieth century Dutch theologians This dissertation will make a contribution to the research on the history of theological ideas in the Netherlands in the twentieth century. The works of seven important Dutch theologians have been examined from the perspective of the reconfiguration of the classical Christological dogmas. It concerns the oeuvre of the Protestants O. Noordmans, A.A. van Ruler, H. Berkhof, A. van de Beek and of the Roman Catholic theologians G.P. Kreling, P. Schoonenberg and E. Schillebeeckx. The introduction (1.0) specifies the field of research, describes the state of scholarship with regard to the history of theology in the twentieth century in the Netherlands and explains the method and the structure of the study. Chapter two elaborates on the problem of the role of God in human history as a Christological dilemma. 2.1 sketches the controversy between a ‘Logos-sarx-christology’ and a ‘Logos-antropos-christology’ within the Early Church. The Council of Chalcedon (451) finally defines the person of Jesus Christ as ‘Vere Deus et vere homo’. In the seventh century however, the relation between the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ is interpreted in such a way that the human nature does not have a hypostasis in itself. From the perspective of the doctrine of the anhypostasia, it seems difficult to safeguard Jesus’ true and full humanity. Since the Enlightenment these teachings have been challenged. The three pillars of church authority – the authority of Scripture, creeds and ecclesiastical magisterium, based on apostolic succession – began to stagger. 2.2 outlines the first quest of the historical Jesus in the nineteenth century. An antithesis arose between the ‘historical Jesus of biblical scholarship’ and the ‘Christ of Christian faith’. The Dutch Reformed Church did not know how to deal with the huge scientific and cultural developments of the century and suffered from inner divisions on the question of the substance of Christian faith. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church, after its regained institutional autonomy in the Netherlands halfway this century, started a fight against modernity (2.3). After the First World War the Dutch and European view of life changed dramatically. Many feared the end of Western civilisation. The Second World War even deepened the consciousness of the ambiguity of history. However, a sense of responsibility to rebuild Western society awoke a new hope for a better future (2.4). Against this background the chapters 3-9 draw the theological portraits of the seven theologians mentioned above. They all make a reconstruction of Christian tradition and they try to express the original message and meaning of Jesus Christ for their own time. Chapter 10 argues that in fact all of them are seeking for the ‘catholicity’ of Christian faith. They have to admit that Western Europe becomes more and more a secularized continent and that it no longer seems possible to speak of ‘a universal truth’. Even the presence of God in history can be easily disputed. Nevertheless, all these theologians confess, each of them in his own way, that the person and life of Jesus in all their historical particularity have a decisive and universal meaning for the salvation of humankind. Only when the full and true humanity of Jesus is recognized, he may be confessed as the Christ of God, born from the Spirit of God, crucified and risen for doing the will of The Father and so bringing near the kingdom of God through justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14,17) as a promise and challenge “for our salvation”.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Utrecht University
    • Otten, W., Primary supervisor, External person
    • Houtepen, A.W.J., Supervisor, External person
    Award date3 Sept 2008
    Print ISBNs978-90-393-4895-6
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2008


    • Geografie, Planologie, Pre- en Protohistorie
    • General theory
    • Menswetenschappen
    • History of the Christian Church
    • Sociale verandering, sociale processen en sociale conflicten
    • Godgeleerdheid
    • Social structure and institutions (Groups, etc.)
    • Overig maatschappelijk onderzoek
    • Onderzoek gefinancierd uit algemene universiteitsfondsen

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