Barth, With all His Faults, Should Still Be Read…

In spite of, or maybe even in active rebellion against, the angry anti-Barthian’s (tellingly absurd) campaign to dissuade thinkers from reading him.

David Congdon has put together a very fine post giving more than ample reasons to ignore Barth’s enemies.  I especially like his concluding paragraph:

In conclusion, the words of Ernst Käsemann ring as true today as they did over 50 years ago: “How many of our students today grasp the truth . . . that those who do not themselves mature in the historian’s trade will shake nothing but unripe fruit from the tree of knowledge? The principal virtue of the historian . . . is the cultivation of the listening faculty, which is prepared to take seriously what is historically alien and does not think that violence is the basic form of engagement.” Those of us inclined to defend the reading of Barth must remember that we must cultivate this listening faculty with respect to our friends who have been wronged by Barthians and by institutions associated with Barth. But our friends must remember that the cultivation of this faculty—particularly with reference to hearing Barth himself—is the surest way to right the wrongs of the past and ensure that Barth’s theology does not scar the lives of others.