A Critical and Comparative Analysis of Jürgen Moltmann’s and Gordon Kaufman’s Environmental Theologies

  • Anthony Floyd

Student thesis: Phd


The aim of this thesis is to compare the environmental theologies of Jürgen Moltmann and Gordon Kaufman in order to explore the manner in which their thought exemplifies certain tensions within environmental theology itself, and to help us investigate those tensions. Moltmann and Kaufman are environmental theologians with different theological commitments. Moltmann (b. 1926) is a theological realist and theologian of radical environmental hope, and Kaufman (1925-2011), was a theological constructivist and theologian of radical environmental responsibility. I argue a tension within environmental theology between hope and responsibility can be explored through a comparison of the manner in which these thinkers--one realist, one constructivist-- revised their positions on anthropology, eschatology and task of theology itself on the basis of their developing environmental consciousness. This comparison reveals that matters of human situatedness, universal telos and understandings of God have foundational significance for attempts to construct a theological response to the environmental crisis. Moltmann and Kaufman’s positions on these foundational issues were informed by the different answers that they gave to certain fundamental questions within systematic theology, namely, what constitutes knowledge of God, the identity of God and what difference God makes in the world. I contend that the centrality of these questions to the construction of these two disparate thinkers’ environmental theologies is exemplary of environmental theology as a whole. That is to say, these systematic issues are rarely highlighted within environmental theology and yet, I argue, they are fundamental and crucial. Through such an exemplary comparison, this thesis makes a contribution to the critical appraisal of the theologies of Moltmann and Kaufman and also to the development of environmental theology itself.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Scott (Supervisor) & Scott Midson (Supervisor)


  • Environmental Theology
  • Eco-Theology
  • Jürgen Moltmann
  • Gordon Kaufman

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