Sunday, 23 September 2007

Barth and history with Donald Wood

I’m currently writing a book about Barth as a historian of theology – a topic which hasn’t yet received the attention it deserves. But Donald Wood’s new book, Barth’s Theology of Interpretation (Ashgate, 2007), has just landed on my desk – and I’m delighted to see that it includes some sophisticated engagement with Barth’s theological historiography.

Anyway, stay tuned for a review of this excellent book – and in the mean time, here’s an excerpt to think about (p. 43):

The opening pages of Barth’s dogmatics “are occupied largely with the twofold task of recognizing and … relativizing the academic context in which Barth is operating…. God’s revelation places us in an impossible situation – or rather the only possible situation, but one from which we seek continually to escape, not least by insulating ourselves from scripture by turning to purely historical or short-sightedly practical questions. In an academic context, this means recognizing that theology must guard against the encroachment of standards of judgment or intellectual processes that are alien to its true subject matter, even or especially when those standards and processes are institutionalized in the academy and when they bear the cultural prestige of being identified as scientific.”

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