Monday 29 May 2006

How to do historical research: advice from Karl Barth

“For me it would be a canon of all research in theological history, and perhaps in all history, that one should try to present what has engaged another person, whether in a good way or in a way less good, as something living, as something that has moved him in some way and that can and indeed does move oneself too; to unfold it in such a way that, even if one finally takes some other route, the path of this other has an enticing, or, if you like, a tempting attraction for oneself.”

—Karl Barth, letter 18 January 1967, in Letters, 1961-1968 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), p. 234.


Anonymous said...

A timely reminder that a responsible theologian will always engage his colleagues, alive and dead, as those know and love God, and thus he will always interpret them kindly and "in better part".

Fred said...

a similar statement is quoted in Eerdman's Ressourcement Series (ed. David Schindler): "According to de Lubac, for example, all of his own works as well as the entire Sources chrétiennes collection are based on the presumption that 'the renewal of Christian vitality is linked at least partially to a renewed exploration of the periods and of the works where the Christian tradition is expressed with particular intensity.'"

byron smith said...

Sounds similar to a Barth quote over here. But in order to blog generously, here is the quote in question:
'Anyone who has never noticed anything of the splendour this figure radiated and still does - I am almost tempted to say, who has never succumbed to it - may honourably pass on to other and possibly better ways, but let him never raise so much as a finger against Schleiermacher. Anyone who has never loved here, and is not in a position to love again and again may not hate here either.'
Karl Barth, From Rousseau to Ritschl (trans. by Brian Cozens, H. H. Hartwell et al.; London: SCM, 1959), 308.

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