Monday, October 25, 2010

Karl Barth's Knocking on the Door...

It was almost 7:00 in the evening, and friends had just arrived for dinner when I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to find a delivery man with a box for me...

I opened it to see what was inside...

And now, it begins.


  1. Brad,
    See Daniel Kirk's blog who was also excited about his new set.

    I gave my advice there about reading it. I will repeat it here:
    Glad to hear the CD set is coming in the mail. You will enjoy it! Also I would hope Candler has an online subscription to The Digital Karl Barth Library through its library so that you all can access the translations and search capability there.

    As for reading, I recommend doing the Lesslie Newbigin thing and starting with volume IV and then work backwards. There Barth is less polemical, less angry, more clear, has less to prove, is more ready to risk, and is older and wiser. I love section 72 in IV.3. on the church (Cf. 62 and 67).

    Or better yet, I recommend just voting with your friends on a section to read (there are 74 of them counting the fragment of the Christian Life on baptism). You can start with any of them. I think of each of them as an approximately 100 page book. I think it helps to be reading material in the CD that you are interested in and know a bit about already–then you can appreciate Barth and not get frustrated and bogged down.

    I have enjoyed this quote lately.

    “In the light of what we have already said, it is surely clear that before the end of all things there is no age whose work cannot be taken up again and continued and improved. Together with the whole ministry of the community, the critical scholarship of theology itself stands in constant need of criticism, correction and reform . . . Always there must be serious questioning, analysis, argumentation, construction, discussion and therefore directly or indirectly, and preferably only indirectly, polemics. From time to time, though not all the time, a little of the notorious rabies theologorum {[fury of the theologians] is quite appropriate.} This does not alter the fact, however, that in itself and as such theology is supremely positive and peaceable, that it fosters peace, and that it is thus to be pursued soberly, good-humouredly, {without raving lack of composure,} and particularly without too much petty, self-opinionated bickering. It is to be noted further that it is a modest undertaking which like missionary work can only aim to serve rather than to dominate by rendering a certain limited and transitory assistance to the cause of the community and therefore of all Christians and the world as a whole. It is to be noted further that when it is conceived and executed correctly and resolutely, yet also freely and modestly, theology is a singularly beautiful and joyful science (cf. C.D., II, 1, p. 656 f.), so that it is only willingly and cheerfully or not at all that we can be theologians.” The Church Dogmatics IV.3.2 p.881; {signals translation slightly altered}.

    All the best,

  2. Thank you sir! Good to know also that Kirk, with others, will be reading slowly through starting in January.