Category Archives: Karl Barth

The Barthians are a Protective Lot…

And evidently they don’t like it when you remind them that their hero had faults.  And a mistress….

49. Internationale Karl Barth Tagung

There’s all manner of info here.  And their Facebook page is here.

100 Years of Barth’s ‘Romans’ Commentary- Call for Papers

Via Christophe Chalamet-

Call for Papers — “Karl Barth’s Römerbrief 100 years later: Retrospect and Prospect” June 5-7 2019, Geneva, CH. Submit your proposals by Sept 15 2018!

The International Barth Conference 2018 Call for Papers

Is posted here.

Those currently enrolled in a doctoral program or with completed doctorates are invited to submit paper proposals for the parallel sessions of the conference. We invite papers which set Karl Barth’s life, theology, and politics into constructive conversation with theologies and theories including but not limited to: liberation, black, disability, post-colonial, womanist, feminist, queer, political, comparative, dogmatic, historical, and contextual. We especially encourage women, Africans, people of color, international students, new voices, and other under represented voices in the Barth discussion to submit proposals. Abstracts not exceeding 300 words should be sent to no later than April 15, 2018. Paper presentations should be no more than 3,500 words in order to be delivered in 30 minutes and allow 15-20 minutes for Q&A. Please include your current academic standing with submissions and put “International Barth Conference” in the subject line of your email submission.

Barth-Experte Hans Markus Wildi gestorben

Sad news.  Really very sad.

Hans Markus Wildi ist am 22. Januar 2018 in Ste. Croix in Frankreich gestorben. «Wildi hat zur internationalen Barthforschung mit der Erarbeitung einer detailreichen Bibliographie zu Karl Barth viel beigetragen», schreibt dazu das Karl-Barth-Zentrum für reformierte Theologie der theologischen Fakultät Basel in einem Nachruf.

Insbesondere vom damaligen Aargauischen Regierungsrat unterstützt, konnte Wildi die zweibändige Bibliographie herausgeben. Im 1984 erschienenen Band 1 werden alle Veröffentlichungen von Karl Barth aufgelistet. In Band 2 aus dem Jahre 1992 wird die gesamte bis dahin veröffentlichte Sekundärliteratur über Karl Barth zu erfassen versucht.

Band 1 nennt 976, Band 2 knapp 20’000 Titel. «Beide Bände bieten eine unverzichtbare Grundlage für die Erforschung der Theologie Karl Barths. In dankbarer Erinnerung sei Hans Markus Wildi für seine grossen Verdienste in der Barthforschung gewürdigt», heisst es im Nachruf weiter. (bat)

May he rest in peace.

Read Barth’s Church Dogmatics Through in 2018

I usually read Barth’s Dogmatics every few years and since it’s been since 2013 that I’ve done it I decided that 2018 is the ideal time.  I’ve generally just read a volume each month, and the shorter few (!) in less time.  But this year I’m going to adopt this kid’s clever schedule.  You’re welcome to read along with me and if any issues come up you want to discuss, we can.  It will be fun.

Can we Please Stop Acting Like Recent American Recognition of Barth’s Adultery is an American Discovery?

People have known about the lurid details of Barth’s adulterous affair with Charlotte von Kirschbaum for DECADES.  The fact that American Evangelicals

  • Can’t read German
  • Have never read Barth’s Correspondence
  • Are blind to any critique of Barth

Doesn’t mean that others have not known.  ‘Recent revelations’?   NEIN!

Barth remains one of the most important theologians of the 20th century. That fact can’t be changed. What can and should be changed are the following:

  • Americans need to learn a language or two.
  • Americans need to stop viewing the world of theology through their parochial lens.
  • Americans need to dive into the deep end of the theological pool and realize there’s more to life than Barth.

You Can Get Barth’s ‘Church Dogmatics’ For $75

From Logos, for Logos.  And you get to flirt with Karl for free, just like CvK did!

Just don’t let your wife see your secretary looking at you the way Lotte is looking at Karl… and if you’re smart, you’ll keep your feet under the table on your own side….

Studies in Barth’s Ethics… That’s Rich….

I wonder if it contains a chapter on Barth’s sexual ethics….

NB- DON’T email you angry Barthians.  I know it’s about the volume published by Barth titled ‘Ethics’.  Save your faux outrage for Barth’s actual victim.

Fun Barthian Facts

After Charlotte von Kirschbaum moved into Barth’s house, Barth signed his notes to her in the following ways1:

  • ‘I am having such joy! And I love you so much!’,
  • ‘I just love you so much’,
  • ‘I am so happy! I l. you so much’

or, later, simply

  • ‘I l. y. s. m. (sure? sure!)’ or ‘Oh you…..’, ‘Oh you!’, ‘D. L. … you know’,

from 1931 occasionally:

  • ‘I am constantly thinking of you and I love you much more, even much more than…

for example, on 1 August.

  • Although already then I liked you quite a lot, after all. You!’.

In 1934, he writes from Rome:

  • ‘Be, dearest, a thousand greeting and kisses, by your d. Karl’,

and finally, in a language style of a modern text message, apart from ‘I l. y. s. m.’ once also

  • ‘L. d. L. I l. y. s. m.’.

1Biography and theology. On the connectedness of theological statements with life on the basis of the correspondence between Karl Barth and Charlotte von Kirschbaum (1925–1935), by Susanne Hennecke

Eschatological Presence in Karl Barth’s Göttingen Theology

This is the finest study of Barth’s early theology yet written.

The posthumous publication of previously unavailable academic lectures by Karl Barth allows unprecedented access to the crucial formative years between the production of his two major masterpieces, the Commentary on Romans and the Church Dogmatics. Barth was professor at the University of Gottingen (1921-1926). It was here that he was to formulate many of the ideas that would later be developed or altered in the Church Dogmatics. Providing insightful comparisons and contrast with some of Barth’s major contemporaries, Christopher Asprey draws widely on the lecture courses, as well as on other better known texts from the period, to give a comprehensive account of Barth’s theology in these years.

Unterricht in der christlichen Religion (Gottingen Dogmatics), the only full dogmatics cycle Barth completed during his lifetime, provides a key focus for Asprey’s study. A picture emerges of Barth’s concerns during this period that is different from many other established accounts: rather than being ‘occasionalist’ or dualist, Barth’s theology in the 1920s was characterised by an orientation towards the eschatological encounter between God and humankind. Barth’s intention in the Gottingen Dogmatics was to introduce his students to their responsibility before the Word of God, all other theological topics then flowing towards or from the ‘dialogical’ moment of encounter between this Word and human beings.

This reading is borne out by in-depth analyses of some of the major themes in the dogmatics: revelation, incarnation, resurrection, pneumatology, moral and sacramental theology. While Barth’s focus on the eschatological presence of God explains the freshness and immediacy of his writing in the 1920s, it is also shown at a number of points how this perspective generates various dilemmas in his theology, which remain unresolved during this period.

It’s not new, but honestly, I’ve hardly seen it discussed anywhere except in Themelios.  And that’s a shame.  Come on, Barthians, do better.  You must.

A Kindle Deal for the Barthians

This is a good deal, Barthians.  I’m not sure how long it will last, but it’s a steal.

For many students of Scripture and Christian theology, Karl Barth’s break with liberalism is the most important event that has occurred in theology in over 200 years. In Karl Barth’s Theological Exegesis Richard E. Burnett provides the first detailed look at this watershed event, showing how Barth read the Bible before and after his break with liberalism, how he came to read the Bible differently than most of his contemporaries, and why Barth’s contribution is still significant today.

As Burnett explains, the crux of Barth’s legacy is his abandonment of the hermeneutical tradition of Schleiermacher, which had had such a profound influence on Christian thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This hermeneutical tradition, which began with Herder and extended through Dilthey, Troeltsch, Wobbermin, Wernle, and Barth himself prior to 1915, is characterized by its attempt to integrate broad aspects of interpretation, to establish universally valid rules of interpretation on the basis of a general anthropology, and by its reliance on empathy.

Barth’s discovery that “the being of God is the hermeneutical problem” implied that the object to be known should determine the way taken in knowing. This fundamental insight brought about a hermeneutical revolution that gave priority to content over method, to actual exegesis over hermeneutical theory. The development of Barth’s new approach to Scripture is especially evident in his Römerbriefperiod, during which he developed a set of principles for properly reading Scripture. Burnett focuses on these principles, which have never been discussed at length or viewed specifically in relationship to Schleiermacher, and presents a study that challenges both “neo-orthodox” and “postmodern” readings of Barth.

This is a crucial piece of scholarship. Not only is it the first major book in English on Barth’s hermeneutics, but it also employs pioneering research in Barth studies. Burnett includes in his discussion important material only recently discovered in Switzerland and made available here in English for the first time — namely, six preface drafts that Barth wrote for his famous Romans commentary, which some regard as the greatest theological work of all time.

In making a major contribution to Barth studies, this volume will also inform scholars, pastors, and students whose interests range from modern Christian theology to the history of biblical interpretation.

Did You Know 2019 is ‘Karl Barth Year’? Ugh…

Charlotte v. Kirschbaum

Der Reformierte Bund e.V. ist der Dachverband der etwa 1,5 Millionen reformierten Gemeindeglieder in Deutschland. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) und der Union Evangelischer Kirchen in der EKD (UEK) wird der Reformierte Bund 2019 ein ›Karl-Barth-Jahr‹ durchführen, das den Schweizer Theologen würdigt als zeitgeschichtlich und international bedeutsame Person, als Kirchenmann und Kirchenpolitiker, als reformierten Theologen und Ökumeniker.

Für die Planung und Durchführung des ›Karl-Barth-Jahres‹ 2019 suchen wir zum 1. Januar 2018.


Ugh.  Give us a Brunner Year.

Something for the Barthians

Amazon doesn’t list it yet so you’ll have to keep your eyes open for it there.  The publisher has it though.

For the Barthians Going to the Barth Conference This Weekend- A Gift from Me To You

Karl Barth Audio Files

From the Center for Barth Studies at Princeton (on facebook)-

The Digital Team for the Princeton Theological Seminary Library has developed a new and exciting platform, which transcribes many of the audio files in their collection. There are five audio files of Karl Barth in their audio collection from his Warfield Lectures delivered at the seminary in 1962. What might be most interesting to many would be the transcription of the discussion between Barth and students at the seminary. Listen and read at the link below!

Here’s the link.  Enjoy.  And yes, American Barthians, they’re in English so you’ll be able to understand them.

Barth’s Interpretation of Luther: A Conference at the University of Basel


A Reminder to the Barthians Who Sneer at Brunner…

Brunner never committed adultery and that’s something old Karl can’t say.  But what’s odd is the fact that Gerhard Kittel and other early 20th century theologians are justifiably scorned by the Barthians for their sympathies with the Nazis ; but those same Barthians turn a blind eye to their own hero’s immorality.


A Film About Karl Barth, In The News Again

I guess because of the Barth Renaissance presently sweeping the uni-lingual United States and the fact that a fellow named Peter Reichenbach has made a film about the guy.  But the American Barthians won’t be able to enjoy it, since 99% of them don’t do German, and that’s the language of the film.

Als «Kirchenvater» verehrt, als «Ketzer» geschmäht. Im Film «Gottes fröhlicher Partisan» zeigt Regisseur und Filmproduzent Peter Reichenbach den reformierten Basler Theologen Karl Barth als unbestechliche und unkonventionelle Persönlichkeit.

Auf dem Bildschirm erscheint die Schwarz-weiss-Fotografie eines unscheinbaren älteren Mannes. Dazu sagt die Stimme aus dem Off: «Er legte sich mit den Mächtigen seiner Zeit an. Für die einen war er der Kirchenvater des 20. Jahrhunderts, für die anderen ein Ketzer – der Schweizer Theologe Karl Barth.» So beginnt der Zürcher Regisseur und Filmproduzent Peter Reichenbach sein Porträt über Karl Barth, der zu Lebzeiten weltberühmt war, ein «Star», dem die Magazine «Time» und «Der Spiegel» ganze Titelgeschichten widmeten. Heute sei der Basler Theologe in Amerika und bei den christlichen Minderheiten in Japan und Korea bekannter als in Westeuropa, sagt im Film Niklaus Peter, Pfarrer am Zürcher Fraumünster und verheiratet mit Barth-Enkelin Vreni Peter-Barth. Ausserhalb theologischer Kreise kennt man Karl Barth bei uns kaum noch.


Someone Told Old Barth a Joke…

So he laughed.

Ev. Gesellschaft
Jahrestagung Wuppertal 1956
mit Karl Barth