Karl Barth is perhaps the most influential Protestant theologian of the twentieth century. This Guide to his thought, written by one of the leading scholars of Barth, offers a concise but comprehensive introduction to his theology. The first chapter of the book considers the life and work of Karl Barth. Thereafter, the chapters examine in turn the key theological topics which Barth treated in his magnum opus, the Church Dogmatics—the doctrine of the Word of God, the doctrine of God, the doctrine of creation, and the doctrine of reconciliation. In each case, the theological path which Barth follows is first traced and then illuminated, recognising key lines of critique at appropriate junctures. The final chapter considers the legacy of the work of Barth, and the book closes with a list of suggestions for further reading. This structure follows the series format of the Bloomsbury T&T Clark Guides for the Perplexed, and offer a clear and accessible introduction to Barth’s thought.
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This is a sure-footed, careful, and deeply sympathetic guide to Barth’s theology. Anyone new to Barth will find an invaluable starting point in Nimmo’s account of the content (and also the style and structure) of Church Dogmatics. Seasoned Barth scholars will recognize the depth of knowledge behind Nimmo’s skillful summary, and the deft, balanced way that he touches on controversial issues. Here is a book to which anyone can turn for a trustworthy and accessible overview of the magnum opus of one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century.
—Suzanne McDonald, Western Theological Seminary, USA
Paul Nimmo has provided us with a truly magnificent introduction to Karl Barth that will serve students for decades to come. The highlight is Nimmo’s brilliant summary of the central arguments and underlying logic of Barth’s Church Dogmatics. This clear, concise, and charitable account is complemented by incisive commentary that takes the reader again and again to the heart of the matter. One can hardly imagine a better introduction to place in the hands of a new reader of Barth’s theology.
—Keith L. Johnson, Wheaton College, USA
Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics is an intricate, dialectic, symphonic work of staggering length, nuance, and insight. And yet, the complexity of the Church Dogmatics and the ever increasing volume of secondary literature makes reading, teaching, and engaging Barth with nuance and precision a daunting task. Like a master teacher, Paul Nimmo’s Barth: A Guide for the Perplexed offers a clear and lucid introduction to the structure, theological arguments, and dialectic of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. In addition to guiding students, ministers, teachers and scholars through the complex theological terrain of Barth’s magnum opus, Nimmo regularly presents insightful and penetrating analysis on Barth’s thinking and its place in the history and ongoing work of theological reflection. There is simply no better introduction to Barth’s Church Dogmatics than Nimmo’s book and I anticipate it will become a standard in classrooms and studies alike.
—Joshua Ralston, University of Edinburgh, UK
Dr. Paul T. Nimmo is King’s Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Aberdeen, UK.