Eberhard Jüngel (born 5 December 1934) is a German Lutheran theologian. He is also Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology and the Philosophy of Religion at the Faculty of Evangelical Theology of the University of Tübingen.
Life and works
Eberhard Jüngel was born on 5 December 1934 into a non-religious home in Magdeburg, Germany, shortly before the Second World War. After the war, Magdeburg was located in East Germany. His decision to pursue a career in theology met with 'the concerned astonishment of my mother and the resolute refusal of my father.' However, it was precisely the communist milieu of his youth which led him to Christian theology: "That was the discovery of the church as the one place within a Stalinist society where one could speak the truth without being penalized."
Jüngel studied undergraduate theology at the Kirchliche Hochschule Berlin-Ost (Theological Seminary of East Berlin). During this time he was particularly interested in developing the works of Ernst Fuchs and Heinrich Vogel two influences who remain important throughout his work. He concluded his undergraduate theological studies abroad in 1957–1958 in Switzerland, working with Gerhard Ebeling at the University of Zürich and Karl Barth at the University of Basel. In 1961, he completed his doctorate and then completed his Habilitation in 1962 at the Kirchliche Hochschule Berlin-Ost. Eberhard Jüngel, theologically influenced by Ernest Fuchs, proved to be a proponent of the language event. He took it over in his book "Paul and Jesus" as a demarcation to Rudolf Bultmann.
In 1962, as a direct result of the erection of the Berlin Wall, Jüngel was appointed to the position of Dozent für Neues Testament (Lecturer in New Testament) in the Hochschule; a position he retained until 1966. At the end of his tenure at the Hochschule, Jüngel was appointed as Ordinarius für Systematische Theologie und Dogmengeschichte (Full Professor of Systematic Theology and History of Dogmatics) at the University of Zürich where he taught until 1969. Moving to West Germany in 1969, Jüngel accepted a position of Ordinarius für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie (Full Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion) at the University of Tübingen, where he also assumed the role of Director of the Institute for Hermeneutics. Despite a plethora of offers for positions at other universities, Jüngel remained at Tübingen until his retirement in 2003. His successor to the professorial chair at Tübingen was the systematic theologian Christoph Schwoebel.
Jüngel held a number of additional positions throughout his academic career:
- Between 1987 and 2005, Jüngel held the position of Ephorus (Director) of the Evangelisches Stift Tübingen, a Protestant house of studies and teaching founded in 1536 Hansin a former Augustinian monastery. He was succeeded in 2005 by the Theologian and Church Historian Volker Henning Drecoll.
- From 2003 to 2006, Jüngel was the Director of the Forschungsstätte der Evangelischen Studiengemeinschaft (Research Centre for Protestant Studies) in Heidelberg.
- In 2007, Jüngel was appointed as the Gadamer-Stiftungsprofessor (Hans-Georg Gadamer Chair in Theology) at the University of Heidelberg.
He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.