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Life and work of the protestant theologian Emil Brunner (1889-1966)

MIHAI IORDACHE, Life and work of the protestant theologian Emil Brunner (1889-1966)
Considered to be one of the most important Protestant theologians of the twentieth century, Emil
Brunner was born in Winterthur in 1889 and died in 1966 in Zurich. On the one hand, through
his work and theology, he decisively infl uenced modern and contemporary Protestant theological
thought and on the other hand, through his intuitions and his ethical and social studies, he infl uences
Western social and economic life. Professor of Dogmatics in Zurich, between 1924-1953,
his fundamental work consists of 3 volumes of Christian Dogmatics, along with 2 works of ethics
and socio-economic sciences: Das Gebot und die Ordnungen. Entwurf einer protestantisch-theologischen
Ethik şi Die Gerechtigkeit. Eine Lehre von den Grundgesetzen der Gesellschaftsordnung.
Among his other major works we mention: Die Mystik und das Wort, Der Mittler, Gott und Mensch,
Der Mensch im Widerspruch, Wahrheit als Begegnung etc.
He was part of the “Dialectic Theology”, a stream of Protestant theology, which was founded in
Germany in the interwar period and he was considered a “theologian of theologians” due to the
accuracy and consistency of his ideas about God and man. He had a critical attitude regarding the
implications of Protestant theology in civil society, saying that theology must take into account the
current context and the needs of modern man, without forgetting its fundamental desideratum, to
proclaim the Gospel. In his theology, he gives great importance to the Word of God (Wort Gottes),
which he understands as the only way of communication (the Intercessor) through which fallen
man can connect with God.
Keywords: Protestant theology, dialectical theology, ethics, God’s Word, God’s image, social
sciences, ecumenism