I am glad to present here the first volume of a three-volume ‘Post-Systematic Theology’, which is a comprehensive description of the Christian way of perceiving truth and value. This first volume is presented as ‘Ways of Thinking’: a theological philosophy based on a narrative ontology. However, this ontology is not so much a science of being than it is a science of becoming, a kind of ‘gignomenology’. Not only are classical questions of a philosophy of religion and of a prolegomena to dogmatics treated, but also important approaches oriented towards phenomena are discussed, partially by interdisciplinary means, which amounts to a partial convergence of perception and revelation. Part 1 discusses ‘preparations’, in part 2 the genuine narrative ontology is explicated, part 3 explains ‘divine self-presentation’, and part 4 presents the ‘equipment’ necessary for the following material volumes.
I have to say thanks to all who helped to realize the ways of this project: Werner and Betty Jeanrond enabled a period of research in Oxford, where I wrote the major part of this manuscript. Philipp Stoellger provided critical discussions about individual themes. Similarly, I am grateful to Martin Wendte and Tim Ingold. Pre-eminent thanks go to Carsten Card-Hyatt, who transformed the English version into a readable one. Corrections were done by Johanna Knotte, Bich nhi Dang, Charlotte Fischer, David Kannemann, and Brandon Watson. I am extraordinarily grateful to my colleagues and students at the Protestant University of Barmen (Wuppertal) and Bethel. Without the joyful atmosphere provided by them on campus – where research and life are organically connected – this volume could not have been published. As if that was not a great gift in itself, the university administration also provided financial funds that enabled the work on a double original manuscript, both in German and English. Thanks also to the publisher Brill, especially to Jörg Persch and Martin Illert, who supported this project in an extraordinarily manner. I owe special thanks to my wife Anke and my daughter, Pia Laetitia Johanna. They provided the free spaces which are necessary to write such a work. It is dedicated to Pia.
Epiphany 2020 Markus Mühling