Becoming Human Again: The Theological Life of Gustaf Wingren

By Bengt Kristensson Uggla and Daniel M. Olson (translator)

A fresh exploration of the theological trajectory of Swedish theologian Gustaf Wingren, examining the influences on his work and how his ideas developed.

ISBN: 9780227176030


One of the most influential Swedish theologians of the twentieth century, Gustaf Wingren’s career spanned more than forty years of upheaval both in his field and across the globe. Provocative and challenging, Wingren revelled in a good argument and this attitude set the tone for much of his scholarship. A Swedish Lutheran, he made his name through his research into the theology of Martin Luther, breaking away from both traditional interpretations and the theology of his famous teachers, Karl Barth and Anders Nygren, before shifting his focus onto systematic theology.

In a fresh take, Bengt Kristensson Uggla delves into the influence of Wingren’s second wife, Greta Hofsten, on the direction of his theology. Hofsten, a left-wing political activist who was searching for a new language of faith, wove Wingren’s work together with her own political philosophy to create an unusual kind of Christian socialism. Her thinking had a profound effect on Wingren, causing him to recontextualise his older work entirely. In Becoming Human Again, Uggla examines how Wingren’s combative nature often served him well as a theologian, driving him to constantly engage with innovative ideas and re-examine his older views.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 400

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Bengt Kristensson Uggla is Amos Anderson Professor of Philosophy, Culture, and Management at the Swedish-speaking Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. He is the author of ten books, including Ricoeur, Hermeneutics, and Globalization (2010) and Trust and Organizations: Confidence across Borders (2013). He lives in Stockholm, where he also teaches at Stockholm School of Theology.


1. Entering Wingren’s Theological Life
2. The First Confrontation
3. Sources
4. The Practical Turn
5. Metamorphosis and Recontextualization
6. The Final Academic Battlefield
7. Systematic Theology Turned Critique of Civilization
8. “This Plague of Egocentricity”
Postscript to the English Edition
Literature and Other Sources


Endorsements and Reviews

This is probably the definitive biography of the great Swedish theologian Gustaf Wingren. Kristensson Uggla writes with scope and theological nerve, and with a sense of wit and detail.
Niels Henrik Gregersen, University of Copenhagen

This brilliant and judicious book is a hermeneutically-based analysis of the very significant theology of Gustaf Wingren. Kristensson Uggla makes Wingren’s theology – in all its conflictual glory – come alive again through both an analysis of Wingren’s major works and a moving narrative of his singular eventful life: A major work on a major theologian.
David W. Tracy, University of Chicago

Kristensson Uggla takes the genre of intellectual biography to new heights. ‘What Theology Is and What It Ought to Be’ is the subtitle of Gustaf Wingren’s debate book The Silent Interpreter; it also works as a subtitle for what this eloquent interpreter, Bengt Kristensson Uggla, achieves as he navigates the seas of academic and public theology with scholarly rigor and hermeneutical elegance. We are given a powerful testimony of why and how the Church needs theology.
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala

This book is as important for its vivid accounts of Church and society in 20th-century Sweden as it is for its rehabilitation and critique of Wingren’s theory. … Uggla convinces us that, in many respects, he is a theologian whose time has come.
The Rt Revd Dr John Saxbee, in Church Times, 9 June 2017

This brilliant intellectual biography is a most readable introduction to one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century.
Jonas Jonson, in Theology, Vol 121, No 2