Barth is the Abstract Art of Theology

barth_valentineAnd like abstract art, no one understands what he’s talking about.  Not even he himself.  But in order to pretend a superior insight, his viewers will declare that they do.  Take this dribble of meaninglessness-

A fully restrained and fully alive doctrine of God’s attributes will take as its fundamental point of departure the truth that God is for us fully revealed and fully concealed in His self-disclosure. We cannot say partly revealed and partly concealed, but we must actually say wholly revealed and wholly concealed at one and the same time. (Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of God, Part 1 (vol. 2, 341.)

Go ahead, explain that in language that makes sense to any sensible person.  Nay, it cannot be done because it is meaningless, like so much in Barth.  And, again, rather than admit its meaninglessness, the Barthians prefer to act as if it actually made sense, thereby striving to rescue their hero from what is obvious to everyone else: the emperor has no clothes.

Mind you, Barth could be brilliant.  It’s just that most of the time he wasn’t.  He was just obtuse and convoluted, like abstract art.  And, like abstract art, ultimately meaningless and pointless.

2 thoughts on “Barth is the Abstract Art of Theology

  1. John C. Poirier 1 Mar 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I think it’s even worse than you say: Barthians agree with each other that Barth is right, even before they can say what it is he’s saying.


    • Jim 1 Mar 2016 at 1:46 pm



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