Christ through History (An Inquiry into Pannenberg’s Christology and Its Critics)



One of the most controversial issues in the history of church has been the debate about the ‘true nature’ of Christ and His function in Christianity. While the position of orthodox Christianity regarding Christology revolves mainly around the divine-human nature (known as the two natures) of Christ, modern Christian theology with its scientific orientation approaches the traditional doctrines of Christ in a critical manner and often underscores the historicity of Christ’s personality. The response of the bulk of orthodox theologians in the face of all these criticisms have been to label ‘theology’ as being above and beyond all scientific and historical criticisms. However, Pannenberg is one of the contemporary theologians who has responded to these criticisms by a recourse to the method of historicism to solve theological matters. Pannenberg claims that his interpretation of traditional theology through a historical reading of it is justified since it leads to a proper understanding of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Thus, Christology finds a central place in his corpus that endorses vision and historical manifestation of God as Christ and discusses various apocalyptic issues comprehensible only through the manifestation of Christ. In spite of Pannenberg’s interesting views as found in Christology which is based on a historical understanding of Christ, they were criticised by others.