Karl Barth

Authored by: Kevin W. Hector

The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782173
eBook ISBN: 9780203387856
Adobe ISBN: 9781136677922


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Karl Barth's (1886–1968) relationship to modern, especially liberal, theology changed significantly over the course of his career, but not because he had changed his mind about it, per se. His relationship to it changed, rather, in consequence of his ongoing attempt to think through the theological commitments that first led to his break with such theology. This attempt can be traced through roughly the following steps: Barth's rejection of liberalism was bound up with his denial of any continuity between God and creatures, coupled with a radical emphasis on revelation; the latter emphasis pushed Barth toward an understanding of God as eternally equipped, so to speak, to reveal Godself; the logic of this understanding led Barth to claim that God is eternally determined to be God-with-us; and from this claim, Barth inferred that creation is itself determined for God's being-with-us, such that he could now admit at least some continuity between the two. Each of these steps requires further elaboration.

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