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Karl Barth's Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology : Its Genesis and Development 1909-1936 - Bruce L. McCormack

Karl Barth's Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology

Its Genesis and Development 1909-1936

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'McCormack is master of this voluminous material. He is scrupulously at home in the intricate, dramatic background of Swiss socialist politics ...The result is a masterly study, often as compelling as its theme.' - George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement; 'This meticulous and definitive study ...supersedes most previous interpretations.' - Colin Gunton, Theological Book Review; 'it should quickly attain classic status. It is an exceptionally fine and erudite piece of work...The results of this painstaking attention to detail are truly ground-breaking. This is a major intellectual achievement, an interpretative act of great courage, and Barth studies will never look the same.' - Graham Ward, Expository Times. This book is a new, major intellectual biography of perhaps the most influential theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Barth. It offers the first full-scale revision of the well-known theologian Hans Urs Balthasar's seminal interpretation of Barth, which was first published in 1951. Drawing on a wealth of material, much of it unpublished during Barth's lifetime, as well as a thorough acquaintance with the best of recent German scholarship, Professor McCormack demonstrates that the fundamental decision which would control the whole of Barth's development - the turn to a new, critically realistic form of theological objectivism - was already made during the years in which Barth was at work on his first commentary on Romans. Professor McCormack further argues that the most significant subsequent decisions - both material and methodological - were made in Barth's Gottingen Dogmatics of 1924/5, and not later in the 1931 book on Anselm, as has often been alleged. Finally, he seeks to show that von Balthasar's description of a turn from dialectic to analogy, which provided the foundation for the neo-orthodox reading of Barth in the English-speaking world, fails to take seriously enough the extent to which dialectic remained a constitutive feature of Barth's outlook in the Church Dogmatics. This unique and important work provides not simply a fresh interpretation of Barth's development, but also a new paradigm for understanding the whole of Barth's theology.

Industry Reviews

`This is an extraordinarily important volume for understanding the premier protestant theologian of the 20th century...the book is noteworthy for its thorough treatment of Barth's early break with liberalism and the developments leading up to it, and its full account of the neglected first edition of the Romans commentary, which has never been translated into English.' Russel W. Palmer, Theological Studies In this expanded version of his Princeton Seminary dissertation.. McCormack has surely provided a benchmark for any future discussion of Barth's theological development...The importance of this formidable, richly documented study goes far beyond the cogency of the thesis, which I must leave for the Barth experts to assess...One of the most valuable features of McCormack's study is the care with which he portrays Barth's relation to his teacher Wilhelm Herrmann...marvellously rich volume. `a magnificent book, quite the most brilliant treatment of Barth's theology and its movement towards maturity that I have ever read ... the best study of any one twentieth-century theologian that I think has been written in English. One can only marvel at the breadth of knowledge and understanding it contains, and the sheer expository skill to be able to communicate it as well as McCormack does ... what marks out McCormack's work here is the sheer effort expended in analysing that first edition, in quarrying its tortuous and arcane themes and variations, and in revealing their underlying structure. I can do nothing but commend McCormack's book to everyone who might read this review ... will be compulsory reading for all my students of modern theology ... On this evidence, one hopes that it will not be too long before Bruce McCormack begins producing his own constructive theology.' Gareth Jones, Journal of Theological Studies, 48,1 April 1997 `His study is simply the best intellectual biography of Barth now available, and it is as brilliant as it is unorthodox.' Stephen H. Webb, Wabash College, The Journal of Religion, April 1997 `This ground-breaking study intensifies a provocative controversy concerning the genesis, development, and character of Barth's theological thought ... McCormack's overall contention is pertinent and persuasive, particularly his stress on the overarching continuity and consistency in Barth's theological concerns and interests ... McCormack's main thesis is cogent and persuasive and this book is now an essential text for anyone who wishes to examine Barth's theological development from the early period of Marburg to the period of his mature thought presented in the Church Dogmatics.' Calvin Theological Journal `Significant book ... McCormack's book is a masterful achievement. Beautifully written and well-researched, it is a seminal study of one of this century's most important religious thinkers and reads like an intellectual Baedeker of the ground-breaking cultural and political movements in Weimar Germany that shaped Barth's early theology. Alternately a book in Barth scholarship and early-twenthieth-century theology and culture, the book will appeal to specialists and general readers alike.' Theology Today `One of the most significant studies of Barth, within the English-speaking world, to emerge for a generation...No-one who wishes to engage with Barth and with Reformed theology can afford to ignore this book which will quickly establish itself as required reading for those so interested.' Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology `This is a delightful book which tries to solve the puzzle of Nicomachean Ethics 5.5.' The Review of Metaphysics `It is sure to be of immense usefulness to Barth scholars, challenging and illumining them.' Religious Studies Review `Significant book...McCormack's book is a masterful achievement. Beautifully written and well reasearched, it is a seminal study of one of this century's most important religious thinkers and reads like an intellectual Baedeker of the ground-breaking cultural and political movements in Weimar Germany that shaped Barth's early theology. Alternatively a book in Barth scholarship and early-twentieth-century theology and culture, the book will appeal to specialists and general readers alike.' Theology Today `the best comprehensive interpretation of Karl Barth's theology in years. It is the best historical and genetic reconstruction of Karl Barth's theology available so far in English, and I should say even in German ... McCormack's reading is very faithful and his reconstruction very convincing. His will be a lasting interpretation of Barth's theology and a basic required reading for any serious study of Barth in the future. ... his rigorous scholarly achievement has moved the Barth-research onto a qualitative level we dare not fail to achieve, even as we attempt to go beyond it. For this service we are all deeply indebted to McCormack's labor of love.' Reinhard Hutter, Pro Ecclesia `A deep and substantial interpretation of Barth's theological development up to the early volumes of the Church Dogmatics... new interpretative insight... McCormack introduces a real advance in understanding in Barth here, and in particular his modernity... McCormack's book undoubtedly becomes the major English speaking text for Barth interpretation... The book is well written and will interest not only Barth scholars but will hold the attention of those with a great interest in the twentieth century's greatest theologian.' Timothy Bradshaw. Anvil Vol.17 No.2 2000.

Introduction: The Von Balthasar Thesis and the Myth of the Neo-Orthodox Barth
The Reigning Paradigmp. 1
Where Do We Stand Now?p. 14
A New Paradigmp. 20
Systematic Relevance of the Developmental Problemp. 23
Prologue: The Making of an Outsider (Geneva and Safenwil, 1909-August 1915)
The Marburg Backgroundp. 31
The Cultural Context of Barth's Earliest Dialectical Theologyp. 31
Upbringing and Student Yearsp. 36
The Theological Situation at the Turn of the Centuryp. 38
Marburg Neo-Kantianismp. 43
Wilhelm Herrmann's Theology of Religious Experiencep. 49
Karl Barth's Earliest Theological Writings (Marburg and Geneva, July 1909-July 1911)p. 68
Socialism and Religious Socialism in Safenwil (July 1911-August 1915)p. 78
Before the Storm: Longing for a New Worldp. 78
The Crisis of August 1914 in Letters and Sermonsp. 111
The Split in the Religious Socialist Movement and Barth's Break with Liberalismp. 117
Dialectical Theology in the Shadow of a Process Eschatology (Safenwil, August 1915-January 1920)
The Righteousness of God (Safenwil, August 1915-November 1918)p. 129
The New Starting-Pointp. 129
God is Godp. 130
The Theology of Romans Ip. 135
Theology in a Revolutionary Age (Safenwil, November 1918-January 1920)p. 184
Social-Political Factors in Barth's Further Development?p. 184
The Swiss Landesstreik of November 1918p. 185
Political Writings of 1919p. 190
The Tambach Lecture (25 September 1919)p. 195
Dialectical Theology in the Shadow of a Consistent Eschatology (Safenwil and Gottingen, January 1920-May 1924)
Shift to a Consistent Eschatology (Safenwil, January 1920-October 1920)p. 207
The Fundamental Problem Addressed in Romans II and its Solutionp. 207
Theology of Crisis or the Crisis of Theology?p. 209
Factors Contributing to Barth's Further Development (1919-1920)p. 216
Clearing the Ground: The Theology of Romans II (Safenwil, October 1920-October 1921)p. 241
Circumstances of Compositionp. 241
Preliminary Observationsp. 243
Knowledge of God and Eschatologyp. 245
The Source of the Charge of Scepticism in Romans IIp. 262
Dialectics in Romans IIp. 266
The Emergence of a Critically Realistic Ethic in Romans IIp. 274
Political Action in Romans IIp. 280
The Church as the Locus of Judgement: Barth's Critique of Religion, the Church, and Doctrinep. 282
Barth's Later Critique of Romans IIp. 288
Honorary Professor of Reformed Theology (Gottingen, October 1921-April 1924)p. 291
The Situation in Germanyp. 291
Life in Gottingenp. 292
Modification and Elaboration of the Perspectives of Romans II (1921-1922)p. 302
The Second Academic Year in Gottingen (1922/3)p. 314
Dialectical Theology in the Shadow of an Anhypostatic-Enhypostatic Christology (First Stage: Pneumatocentrism, 1924-1936)
The Gottingen Dogmatics (Gottingen, April 1924 - October 1925)p. 327
Shift from an Eschatological to a Christological Grounding of Theologyp. 327
Preparations for Dogmaticsp. 329
Deus dixitp. 337
Authority in the Churchp. 346
The Doctrine of the Trinityp. 350
The Incarnation of Godp. 358
Footnote to Barth's Christology: The Debate with Erik Petersonp. 367
The Doctrine of Electionp. 371
The End of Barth's Teaching Activities in Gottingenp. 374
Professor of Dogmatics and New Testament Exegesis in Munster (October 1925-March 1930)p. 375
Preliminary Considerationsp. 375
A Challenging Conversation Partner: Roman Catholicismp. 376
The Break-up of the Dialectical Theologiansp. 391
Fides quaerens intellectum (Bonn, March 1930-June 1935)p. 412
The End of the Weimar Republicp. 412
Teaching Activities in Bonnp. 415
What's New in Anselm?p. 421
Why "Church" Dogmatics?p. 441
Dismissal and Departure from Bonnp. 448
Dialectical Theology in the Shadow of an Anhypostatic-Enhypostatic Christology (Second Stage: Christocentrism, 1936-)
The Eternal Will of God in the Election of Jesus Christ (Basle, June 1935-October 1936)p. 453
Christocentrismp. 453
Reformation Celebrations in Geneva (1936)p. 455
God's Gracious Electionp. 458
Conclusionp. 464
Select Bibliographyp. 469
Name Indexp. 492
Subject Indexp. 496
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198269564
ISBN-10: 0198269560
Series: Clarendon Paperbacks
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 520
Published: 1st March 1997
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 13.97  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.68