Dialectical Barth

I think one of the reasons Church Dogmatics is so long is the dialectical character of Barth. He would consider an option and then move to the opposite one before making his own move (although not necessarily in a Hegelian way). And even after he has made his own move, he will often go back to the previous arguments and rehearse them back in the light of his own. But, in the end I guess that’s the only way he could do justice to the task of dogmatics, which is supposed to be oriented to its object of enquiry, the Word of God, and not too seldom as well we found the Word of God as attested in the Scripture to be in tension with other parts of the Bible. The Word of God is clear, but it is not clear as well. This kind of seemingly contradictory statements could baffle many, but I guess we are going to live with it and be damned. What’s difficult, indeed, is to hold and keep these opposing arguments in tension and not to fall to any opposite pole indeterminately. Although, unfortunately, I often ended up avoiding the attempt to walk in this tight rope altogether. This is where both-and collapses into neither-nor, and I am sucked into the black hole of retreat. Instead of at least trying to do something, I was trapped into my own ideal world of forms.

(And, that’s why, I think it’s not easy to say Barth said this or Barth said that, as most probably the truth is Barth said this and that. Or is it?)


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