Friday, 23 March 2007

The theology of the past

“An explicit judgment, the feeling that for better or for worse we can be ‘finished’ with this or that, always means the closing of a door that ought to remain open, the silencing of a voice that ought to continue to speak…. History writing cannot be a proclamation of judgment…. The condition for a legitimate concern with the theology of the past is rather that we should escape again from the unavoidable intoxication of the moment of our own theological recognition as quickly as possible, and with the utmost speed meet up again with our fathers, with those whose voices we think we have heard often enough before.”

—Karl Barth, Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century: Its Background and History (London: SCM, 1959), pp. 23-24.

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