Hauerwas, Barth, and laying bricks

Now I am re-reading Hauerwas’ memoir, Hannah’s Child, and here’s a quote from Hauerwas on Barth:

“[I] think of theology as a craft requiring years of training. Like stonecutters, and bricklayers, theologians must come to terms with the material upon which they work. In particular, they must learn to respect the simple character of orthodoxy. I think one of the reasons I was never drawn to liberal Protestant theology was that it felt too much like an attempt to avoid the training required of apprentices. In contrast, Karl Barth’s work represented for me an uncompromising demand to submit to a master bricklayer, with the hope that in the process one might learn some of the ‘tricks of the trade.'” (37)

Hauerwas echoed what Barth meant by the scientific nature of dogmatics. That is, to come to terms with its respective materials of enquiry. Thus, the expected attitude is of a servant who comes to learn and “submit to a master bricklayer.”

(For clarification’s sake, by going against the liberals it doesn’t simply mean that Hauerwas and Barth are your next-door Evangelicals.)

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