The difference totality makes: Reconsidering Pannenberg's eschatological ontology

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Abstract

Wolfhart Pannenberg's eschatological ontology has been criticised for undermining the goodness and reality of finite creaturely differentiation. Drawing on David Bentley Hart's recent ontological proposal, this article explores the critique of Pannenberg's ontology, and offers a defence of Pannenberg's depiction of the relationship between difference and totality, especially as it is presented in his 1988 work, Metaphysics and the Idea of God. In this work, Pannenberg articulates a structured relationship between difference and totality in which individual finite particularities are preserved and affirmed within a coherent semantic whole. Creaturely differences are not sublated or eliminated in the eschatological totality, but they are integrated into a harmonious totality of meaning. This view of the semantic function of totality can be further clarified by drawing an analogy between Pannenberg's ontological vision and Robert W. Jenson's model of the eschatological consummation as a narrative conclusion to the drama of finite reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalNeue Zeitschrift fur Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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