Scientific dogmatics

What constitutes a scientific dogmatics (by scientific Barth means a characteristic of an enquiry which corresponds accordingly to its respective object of enquiry)? Barth argued that it must neither be, what he characterized as, gnostic (dogmatics exists to serve Church proclamation and hence it “should never stand in the air” nor is “intelligible only as pure gnosis”, although he doesn’t deny that in certain cases these metaphysical speculations might not be avoidable) nor uncritical (it is neither a mere “repetitive exposition” of Church proclamation nor simply a “historical account of the classical expression of the faith”, and thus to be a consistent Barthian one must not canonize him) but scriptural (it “enquires into the agreement of Church proclamation with the revelation which is attested in Holy Scripture”).

Hence, because of these criteria, indeed, “the question of dogma may be put and answered much more seriously and fruitfully in the unassuming Bible class of an unknown country parson than in the most exact academic discussion imaginable.” (I/1, 279-287)


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