Die evangelische Theologie 01

"Unfortunately my relationship to the courageous Negro pastor Martin Luther King was confined to being photographed together in front of a church door." (p. ix)

Currently I am reading Karl Barth’s Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (originally published as Einführung die evangelische Theologie). The first five chapters of the book were taken from a series of lectures given by Barth (at the University of Chicago and Princeton Theological Seminary) during his only visit to the United States in 1962. The lectures, which were then complemented by twelve additional chapters, formed the book. And hence Barth told various anecdotes about his visit to the United States in his foreword to the American edition.

For example, he recalled how he perhaps had frustrated both the liberals and the conservatives. On one hand, the liberals “might suppose himself all too easily dispensed from historical criticism and other achievements of the nineteenth century.” (p. xi)

On the other hand, “Christianity Today informed me that the old uneasiness smoldering in the conservative camp has still not been extinguished concerning what I have supposedly been heard to say about the authority of the Bible and the relationship of Geschichte and Historie.” (p. xi) Liebe Herr Barth, rest assured that the old uneasiness concerning what you have said about the authority of the Bible has still not been extinguished yet. They just can’t comprehend the way you distinguish between the Word and the Scriptures which witness to the Word (I might not really understand you, either!).

And, interestingly, regarding the relationship of Geschichte and Historie (story and history), Hays mentioned about this on his critique to Wright at the recent Wheaton theological conference (the title of Hays’ talk was ‘Knowing Jesus: Story, History, and the Question of Truth’, which was pretty much Barthian). That Wright should pay more attention about the distinction between story/narrative and history/facts on his method to know Jesus. Barth is alive and kicking, after all.

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