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Products>Reading Karl Barth: A Companion to Karl Barth’s Epistle to the Romans

Reading Karl Barth: A Companion to Karl Barth’s Epistle to the Romans

, 2011
ISBN: 9781610970167

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Karl Barth’s 1922 The Epistle to the Romans is one of the most famous, notorious, and influential works in twentieth-century theology and biblical studies. It is also a famously and notoriously difficult and enigmatic work, especially as its historical context becomes more and more foreign. In this book, Kenneth Oakes provides historical background to the writing of The Epistle to the Romans, an introduction and analysis of its main themes and terms, a running commentary on the text itself, and suggestions for further readings from Barth on some of the issues it raises. The volume not only offers orientation and assistance for those reading The Epistle to the Romans for the first time, it also deals with contemporary problems in current Barth scholarship regarding liberalism, dialectics, and analogy.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Provides helpful historical context for Barth’s The Epistle to the Romans
  • Deciphers complex language used by Barth
  • Guides readers through Barth’s main ideas and themes


PART I: Introduction

  • Background
  • A Short Guide to Reading Barth’s Epistle to the Romans
  • The Prefaces

PART II: Barth on Romans 1–16

  • The Gospel and the Night (Rom 1)
  • Unrighteousness Abounds (Rom 2)
  • The Twofold Righteousness of God (Rom 3)
  • The Light of History within History (Rom 4)
  • The New Human Being, the Coming World (Rom 5)
  • Grace, Resurrection, and Obedience (Rom 6)
  • The Freedom of God and Religion (Rom 7)
  • The Holy Spirit (Rom 8)
  • The Church’s Suffering (Rom 9)
  • The Church’s Guilt (Rom 10)
  • The Church’s Hope (Rom 11)
  • God, Ethics, and Disturbance (Rom 12–15)
  • The Apostle, the Community, and the Epistle to the Romans (Rom 15–16)

Top Highlights

“Where, then, does the true righteousness of humanity come from? It comes from revelation, the giving of the law, and the divine election that engenders faith.” (Page 53)

“The neighbor is the answer to the question, ‘Who am” (Page 141)

“Barth’s move from his early liberal theology to his dialectical theology of the Word of God” (Page 10)

“simplicity is the mark of divinity’ (a phrase from Blumhardt” (Page 29)

“Barth never stopped being ‘liberal’ in some regards. He never abandoned a variety of tenets of his ‘liberal,’ modern Protestant theological upbringing: the idea that revelation is God’s self-revelation, an act completed by God; a christological emphasis and outlook; the sense that ‘natural theology’ is impossible and even dangerous; a steady emphasis upon the importance of ethics, human subjectivity, and self-determination; an account of the ‘independence’ of faith and religion from other academic disciplines; and the sense that historical-critical methods of interpreting the Bible are necessary and legitimate but limited at certain key points.” (Page 11)

Praise for the Print Edition

Barth’s Epistle to the Romans is notoriously opaque and challenging; Oakes’ guide is lively, perceptive, and nimble, and will enable readers to approach Barth with confidence and discover for themselves the riches of this classic of twentieth-century theology.

John Webster, University of Aberdeen

Cleary written and accessible, Reading Karl Barth offers a fascinating and much-needed commentary on Karl Barth’s The Epistle to the Romans. Oakes’ book is a helpful companion for those reading Barth for the first time, and there is also much here for those who have been thinking about Barth’s revolutionary commentary for some time.

Tom Greggs, University of Aberdeen

Product Details

  • Title: Reading Karl Barth: A Companion to Karl Barth’s Epistle to the Romans
  • Author: Kenneth Oakes
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 180
  • Resource Type: Topical
  • Topic: Romans

Kenneth Oakes is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Notre Dame, having previously been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tubingen. He is the author of Karl Barth on Theology and Philosophy (2012). His articles and reviews have appeared in journals such as Modern Theology, International Journal of Systematic Theology, and The Thomist.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Theologien



    Just started reading the preface, and already impressed
  2. Thomas Sharkey

    Thomas Sharkey


    Just a thought. It would be very helpful if Logos also offered The Epistle to the Romans by Karl Barth as a single volume. Then we could use these two books in tandem.


Digital list price: $15.99
Save $3.00 (18%)