Suffering and Self-Sacrifice as the Motors of History: Jürgen Moltman in Dialogue with German-Jewish Thought

Although Moltmann’s “Theology of Hope” (1964) has been an influential source for the founders of the Latin American Liberation theology since its beginnings in the late 1960s, his ideas became almost iconic for this trend two decades later when, in November 1989, a Spanish copy of Moltmann’s book “Der gekreuzigte Gott, Das Kreuz Christi als Grund und Kritik christlicher Theologie” (published in 1972), was found, covered in blood, in the hands of one of the six Catholic priests murdered by Salvadorian military forces at the Catholic University of San Salvador (UCA). In the context of this event, the fact that the book focuses on the theology of martyrdom by examining figures like Aristotle, Jesus, and Rabbi Akiva who, according to Moltmann, were willing to die in the name of God (or the truth), became tragically ironic. A central point of the work is Moltmann’s debate with modern German-Jewish thinkers (Bloch, Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, Fromm, Baeck, and others) on the role of suffering in the historical progress of humanity towards redemption. The planned article will analyze Moltmann’s reading of these Jewish sources in order to contribute to the study of Jewish-Christian theological dialogue.