Tuesday 20 April 2010

A new introduction to Karl Barth

So if you need an accessible introduction to Barth to go with your new set of Church Dogmatics, I've got just the thing for you: the impressive and delightful Welsh theologian Densil Morgan has a nice new volume, The SPCK Introduction to Karl Barth (SPCK 2010), 116 pp. (also available from Amazon UK).

Here's an endorsement I wrote for the back cover (along with endorsements by Oliver Crisp, John Webster and Tom Hastings):

Barth was an exciting thinker, and the best writing on Barth manages to capture something of that boundless energy and excitement. D. Densil Morgan offers a vigorous, fast-paced narrative that weaves together Barth’s life, his intellectual development, his turbulent political settings, and the overall shape of his theological work. He provides a remarkably clear and concise overview of the whole Church Dogmatics, with a welcome emphasis on Barth’s anthropology and the rich “humanism” of his thought.


Zac said...

I have not read Morgan's Intro to Barth and so I cannot speak to how he (as Ben feels) touches on the nature of Barth's "humanism". However, from my own reading of Barth, I take it that the fact that Ben put "humanism" in quotes is at least in part to deal with the fact that while Barth was not a humanist formally, the content of the Dogmatics shows him to be deeply concerned with how God's "YES" to the creature is in fact a YES! This being the case, Barth is concerned with a type of humanism: a different one from those strands of humanism devoid of any commitment to the demands of faith to be sure, but indeed, a humanism.


kim fabricius said...

Humpty Dumpty word "humanism". The later Barth certainly spoke of the "humanity of God", of there being no "humanlessness in God", of Jesus Christ as the truly human, and of the "co-humanity" of humans, and indeed he finally described his theology as "theanthropology". There is also a rich vein of "humanism" in the Reformed tradition, which you could argue Barth was radicalising. I'd say that if Barth wasn't a humanist, it is only because he was more humanist than humanists.

Btw, Ben met Densil at Princeton. I recently met him in Swansea. If his little book The Humble God: A Basic Course in Christian Doctrine (2005) is anything to go by, this new volume on Barth should be a treat.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Barth has an essay somewhere where he talks about "God's humanism".

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