The opening chapter of Pannenberg's ST is entitled "The Truth of Christian Doctrine as the Theme of Systematic Theology," and his initial discussion revolves around defining what the word "theology" means. While there are several points of interest in these initial pages, I want to point out how at the outset Pannenberg begins to reveal his relationship to Karl Barth, noting two instances in particular. His statement that "in the concept of theology the truth of theological discourse as discourse about God that God himself has authorized is always presupposed" (p. 7) demonstrates an affinity with Barth, but prior to that he has already begun to suggest that he will differ from Barth regarding how "creatures can attain to the knowledge of God." As he writes, "in any case, whether inside the Christian church or outside it, and even in the so-called natural knowledge of God, no knowledge of God and no theology are conceivable that do not proceed from God and are not due to the working of his Spirit" (p. 2). I am unclear whether Pannenberg is advocating a different understanding of natural theology or a theology of nature in this opening section; based on other reading I have my suspicions, but for now I will leave it open. Regardless, I look forward to seeing how he develops this further.
I assume that those familiar with Pannenberg are already well aware of how these statements can be fleshed out and nuanced, and if anyone can and desires to please jump in, but for my part I will hold off until the argument unfolds naturally further down the road in the texts. For now let me end by noting that already from these first eight pages I have the suspicion that tracing the relationship between Barth and Pannenberg's theology would make for quite an enriching endeavor, one that I look forward to doing in some measure here at DET.