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The Self-Giving God and Salvation History: The Trinitarian Theology of Johannes von Hofmann
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The Self-Giving God and Salvation History: The Trinitarian Theology of Johannes von Hofmann


T&T Clark 2004

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


Hofmann (1810–1877) was one of the most significant theologians of the 19th century and perhaps the century’s most influential Lutheran theologian. Matthew L. Becker introduces us to Hofmann’s Trinitarian view of God. According to Hofmann, God freely chose to give himself out of divine love. Becker’s book centers on Hofmann’s understanding of history. In Hofmann’s Trinitarian kenosis, the eternal God has become historical by self-emptying God’s self into Jesus. For Hofmann, world history can only be understood within the historical self-giving of the triune God who is love. Thus, for Hofmann all of history is salvation-history, a kind of history that embraces and fulfills God’s purposes in the world.

Praise for the Print Edition

Heilsgeschichte is the one German word every student of theology learns. Here Matthew Becker introduces us to the father of the ‘history of salvation’ way of thinking that Oscar Cullmann popularized in Christ in Time. An added bonus is Becker’s surprising thesis that, contrary to common opinion, Trinitarian theology was alive and well in the nineteenth century, prior to its alleged rebirth in the dogmatics of Karl Barth.

—The Rev. Dr. Carl E. Braaten, Executive Director, Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology

Using the whole range of Hoffmann’s work, including the lectures on dogmatics that Hofmann left unpublished, Becker has written a book that makes a significant addition… to the extensive literature in German [on Hofmann]. The Self-Giving God and Salvation History ranges widely over Hofmann’s theology and his intellectual world – and digs deeply, with meticulous attention to detail. Professor Becker’s concern is not only to set the record straight on this often misunderstood theologian, but also to continue the critical engagement with his thoughts that began in his own day and to set them alongside the present-day theological discussion, which in some respects Hofmann anticipated.

—From the Forward by Brian A. Gerrish, John Nuveen Professor Emeritus, The University of Chicago Divinity School

Product Details

  • Title: The Self-Giving God and Salvation History: The Trinitarian Theology of Johannes von Hofmann
  • Author: Matthew L. Becker
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 320

About Matthew L. Becker

Matthew L. Becker is Visiting Associate Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana. An ordained Lutheran minister, Dr. Becker has served congregations in Chicago and Oregon. He is a co-editor of God Opens Doors, a history of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the Pacific Northwest.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition