Valley of the Yosemite, 1864 by Albert Bierstadt.
Photograph ©2009 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
"We did not so much seem to be seeing from that crag of vision a new scene on that old familiar globe, as a new heaven and a new earth into which the creative spirit had just been breathed. I hesitate now, as I did then, at the attempt to give my vision utterance. Never were words so beggared for an abridged translation of any Scripture of Nature."
Fitz Hugh Ludlow, an American writer, describing a visit he made to Yosemite in 1863 with the American artist Albert Bierstadt.
Michael Welker is professor and chair of systematic theology in the Theological Faculty of the University of Heidelberg and director of the university’s Research Center for International and Interdisciplinary Theology (FIIT). He is an ordained minister in the Evangelische Kirche der Pfalz (Protestant Church of the Palatinate). Dr. Welker works through the biblical traditions and through philosophical and sociological theories to address questions of contemporary culture. Warning against a reductionist systematics that can block, as well as guide, thought, he has focused on the interplay among religious, legal, moral, scientific, and other cultural codes that shape the ethos of the postmodern world. His work is exceptionally wide-ranging, and he has recently considered problems of pluralism in societies, cultures, and canonic traditions, as well as exploring notions of human personhood in pre-modern, modern, and contemporary periods. In God the Spirit (1992 and 1994), he articulates a broad spectrum of experiences of the Spirit, searches and quests for the Spirit, and skepticism toward the Spirit informing contemporary theological reflection. His interweaving of diverse testimonies and accounts of God and God’s action among human beings illuminates how different people and different groups of people throughout history have served as bearers of God’s revelation. A graduate of the University of Tübingen where he studied with Jürgen Moltmann and earned a doctorate in theology in 1973, Dr. Welker received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Heidelberg in 1978. He was professor of systematic theology in the Theological Faculty of the University of Tübingen from 1983 to 1987 and, for the next four years, he held the chair in Reformed theology in the Theological Faculty of the University of Münster before returning to Heidelberg, where he served as director of the university’s Internationales Wissenschaftsforum for a decade. He has held an honorary research fellowship at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion of the University of Chicago Divinity School and has been a visiting professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and the Princeton Theological Seminary as well as a guest professor at the Harvard Divinity School. A member of the Heidelberg Academy and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Dr. Welker is a member of the Consultation on Science and Religion of Princeton’s Center for Theological Inquiry and serves on the board of advisors of the John Templeton Foundation. He is a member of the editorial boards of Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Evangelische Theologie, Jahrbuch für Biblische Theologie, Journal of Law and Religion, Process Studies, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal
, Verkündigung und Forschung
, and Word and World
. The author of some 200 articles published in scholarly journals, he has written or edited more than thirty books. In addition to four recent works in German, including Kirche im Pluralismus
(2000), his latest studies are: What Happens in Holy Communion
(2000), which has been published in six languages; (edited with John Polkinghorne) The End of the World and the Ends of God: Science and Theology on Eschatology
(2000), which has been translated into Korean; (with John Polkinghorne) Faith in the Living God: A Dialogue
(2001), which has been translated into Korean and Chinese; (edited with Ted Peters and Robert John Russell) Resurrection: Theological and Scientific Assessments
(2002); (with Wallace M. Alston) Reformed Theology: Identity and Ecumenicity
(Vol. I 2003, Vol. II 2006); (editor) The Work of the Spirit: Pneumatology and Pentecostalism
(2006), and Theological Profiles: Schleiermacher – Barth – Bonhoeffer – Moltmann