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Karl Barth (1886–1968)

Author of Dogmatics in Outline

435+ Works 14,652 Members 55 Reviews 32 Favorited

About the Author

Karl Barth was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1886. A theologian, Barth is considered to be one of the most prolific writers Christendom has ever produced. His Church Dogmatics runs well over 12,000 pages in English translation. There also is a great body of occasional writing. Barth would be show more worthy of note if only for his first published work, a commentary on The Epistle to the Romans. In 1918, when he published this study, Barth was a young pastor in his native Switzerland. The guns of World War I could still be heard, their angry shells destroying, perhaps forever, the liberal optimism of Continental theology. Where was the progress young Barth had learned about from Harnack in Berlin? Where was human rationality, dispelling the noisome holes of ignorance and superstition, when the great leaders of Christendom descended to the barbarity of trench warfare? For answers Barth turned St. Paul's greatest epistle, as St. Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther had before him. Barth obtained a post at the University of Bonn, but Hitler objected to his work with the Confessing Church (see Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and he was forced to return to his own country, there to produce all his great tomes. Turning theologians from their rational optimism, Barth has driven them to consider again the power of the Word of God-the acted, spoken, inscripturated, incarnated Word was always his chief theme. Against it, all human pride and pretension, all schemes for utopian societies, all theologies based on anything other than the Bible and Christ have proved transient. Barth's objectors reply that Barth's God is too far away like Soren Kierkegaard; that Barth spoke of the "infinite qualitative distinction" between God and man; that Barth ignores scientific advances; and that he cares little for dialogue with other religions. Yet Barth's oppposers never complain of a lack of erudition or ecumenical concern. To some Barth is the greatest theologian the church has produced. Barth died in 1968 as he had hoped-with his Dogmatics still unfinished. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Carl Barth,1896-1976 is a different author than Karl Barth, 1886-1968, and so has been nevered, despite the fact that several book titles written by Karl Barth have been entered in LT with the name Carl Barth as author.

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Works by Karl Barth

Dogmatics in Outline (1949) 1,269 copies
The Epistle to the Romans (1918) 1,225 copies
Church Dogmatics (1932) 701 copies
The Humanity of God (1961) 655 copies
Prayer (1952) 246 copies
Deliverance to the Captives (1961) 191 copies
Epistle to the Philippians (1927) 174 copies
Credo (1962) 171 copies
Homiletics (1991) 151 copies
The Theology of John Calvin (1995) 139 copies
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1956) — Author — 116 copies
God in action (1963) 81 copies
Ethics (1981) 76 copies
Letters, 1961-1968 (1981) 69 copies
Prayer and Preaching (1964) 65 copies
Come, Holy Spirit (1933) 62 copies
Fifty Prayers (2008) 61 copies
How I Changed My Mind (1966) 55 copies
Final testimonies (1977) 52 copies
The Church And The Churches (2005) 50 copies
Fragments Grave and Gay (1867) 45 copies
Call for God (1967) 42 copies
The preaching of the gospel (1961) 41 copies
Karl Barth's table talk (1962) 40 copies
Against the stream (1954) 31 copies
The German Church Conflict (1965) 22 copies
The Great Promise: Luke 1 (1963) 22 copies
Selected prayers (1966) 18 copies
The Church and the War (1944) 18 copies
Christmas (1934) 15 copies
The Doctrine of God (2009) 13 copies
God, Grace and Gospel (1959) 9 copies
Letters, 1922-66 (1982) 8 copies
Gebeden (2005) 7 copies
Barth Brevier (1966) 6 copies
Rechtfertigung und Recht (1938) 4 copies
Vom christlichen Leben (1926) 4 copies
Mann und Frau (1964) 4 copies
Suchet Gott, so werdet ihr leben! (1917) — Author — 3 copies
Religie is ongeloof (2011) 3 copies
La chiesa (1964) 3 copies
Der reiche Jüngling (1988) 3 copies
Christliche Ethik. (1946) 2 copies
Teološki eseji 2 copies
Il Natale 2 copies
Dio e il niente (2000) 2 copies
Het gebed 2 copies
Eine Schweizer Stimme (1945) 2 copies
Der Christ als Zeuge. (1934) 2 copies
Der gute Hirte (1934) 2 copies
Hegel 2 copies
Mozart: 1756-1956 (2020) 1 copy
Div Vánoc 1 copy
Pai Nosso, O (2003) 1 copy
Antologia 1 copy
Dialogue 1 copy
all 1 copy
Schritte 1 copy
L'avvento-Il Natale (1992) 1 copy
Gottes Gnadenwahl (1988) 1 copy
Evangelium und Bildung (1947) 1 copy
ANTWORT 1 copy
Ein Briefwechsel (1981) 1 copy
L'Eglise en péril (2000) 1 copy
Avent (2019) 1 copy
Uomo e donna 1 copy
La priere 1 copy
Predigten 1911 (2015) 1 copy
Ultime testimonianze (2015) 1 copy
Preghiere (1987) 1 copy
L'humanité de dieu (2010) 1 copy
La riforma protestante (2018) 1 copy
La oración (1980) 1 copy

Associated Works


Common Knowledge



One of the most eminent theologians of the 20th century explains the Apostles' Creed as a foundation of the Christian religion.
PendleHillLibrary | 1 other review | Feb 13, 2024 |
Christian Theology, Evangelical Theology The theology of Karl Barth is centered upon God Christ in the Bible. It is not a man centered theology nor visited theology which has made peace with the humanistic assumptions of the West. It is evangelical precisely because it stresses God's encounter with man instead of man's discovery of God.
PendleHillLibrary | 8 other reviews | Sep 27, 2023 |
SrMaryLea | Aug 22, 2023 |

I’m really glad I begun my cursory little glance back into theology with this work after a little over three years of having done virtually zero serious work on the subject. Having possessed both a feigned belief in Christianity during my enrolment at a Catholic primary school in my youth and a subsequently confrontational style of discussion during my predictable, yet still intensely irritating, stage of adolescence where I thought that New Atheism was the real deal it was refreshing to come at things from a Protestant perspective.

The series of lectures that Barth has penned here has its slow moments but the two central chapters on theological existence and the threats that the discourse of theology faces both internally and externally were incredibly enlightening and enjoyable. In particular the lecture on Temptation was very moving, causing a momentary atheistic vitriol to be stirred in my gut which I hadn’t felt in years. Thankfully this quickly subsided, but nevertheless the idea that God’s righteous wrath can cause Him to up and turn his back completely on a devoted community’s intellectual and practical efforts, ‘disdain[ing] these offerings of your fatted calves’, was a pretty difficult to pill to swallow. Tough love I guess, eh? The assertion by Barth that one should study the secondary witnesses (say, for instance, the Church doctors who never directly encountered Christ), with their theological systems which stand as the very pinnacles of Christianity, only to have to remain constantly aware while doing so that they too possess a danger which all must be cognisant of, was particularly striking. I can understand why Barth posits this, simul justi et peccatores and all that, but it’s an insight so novel to me to that I haven’t quite got round to fully digesting it yet. I was always a staunch proponent of the idea of Sola Scriptura, a clear heresy decried by my teachers, even during my atheist days - but the idea that some of the finest theologians may have written during periods of God’s withdrawal was patently dismaying.

That’s all to say that only one small discussion within this slim volume was enough to set me down a whole trail of thought I hadn’t considered in years. There are plenty of insights to be gleaned in here and I’d highly recommend it. I’ll close this out with a some fairly sizeable quotes that resonated with me fairly strongly:

‘So excellent may be the theologian's work. But of what help is it? Everything is in order, but everything is also in the greatest disorder. The mill is turning, but it is empty as it turns. All the sails are hoisted, but no wind fills them to drive the ship. The fountain adorned with many spouts is there, but no water comes. Science there is, but no knowledge illumined by the power of its object. There is no doubt piety, but not the faith which, kindled by God, catches fire. What appears to take place there does not really take place. For what happens is that God, who is supposedly involved in all theological work, maintains silence about what is thought and said in theology about him’

‘The God of whom we speak is no god imagined or devised by men. The grace of the gods who are imagined or devised by men is usually a conditional grace, to be merited and won by men through supposedly good works, and not the true grace which gives itself freely. Instead of being hidden under the form of a contradiction, sub contrario, and directed to man through radical endangering and judgment, man's imagined grace is usually directly offered and accessible in some way to him and can be rather conveniently, cheaply, and easily appropriated. Evangelical theology, on the other hand, is to be pursued in hope, though as a human work it is radically questioned by God, found guilty in God's judgment and verdict—and though collapsing long before it reaches its goal, it relies on God who himself seeks out, heals, and saves man and his work. This God is the hope of theology.’

‘In this love there is no fear. This perfect love drives out fear because in it God loved man for his own sake and man loved God for his own sake. What took place on both sides was not a need, wish, and desire but simply the freedom to exist for one another gratis. This was God's own primal freedom for man and at the same time man's freedom which was granted him by God. This was Agape, which descends from above, and by the power of this descent, simultaneously ascends from below. Agape is both movements in equal sovereignty, or, rather, this single movement.’

‘But theological observation of God cannot be a genial and detached survey. Theology cannot be an easygoing (or even interested and perhaps fascinated) contemplation of an object. For in the last analysis the attitude of the more or less enraptured subject toward this object might remain indifferent or skeptical, if not spiteful. If this object allowed its beholder to protect himself behind a fence of reservations, it would not at all be the wonder of God of which we spoke. When this object arouses wonderment of the type we have described, transforming the man whom it involves into an astonished subject, this man also becomes concerned.’

‘The question about truth, therefore, is not stated in the familiar way: is it true that God exists? Does God really have a covenant with man? Is Israel really his chosen people? Did Jesus Christ actually die for our sins? Was he truly raised from the dead for our justification? And is he in fact our Lord? This is the way fools ask in their hearts—admittedly such fools as we are all in the habit of being.’
… (more)
theoaustin | 8 other reviews | May 19, 2023 |



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