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The Essential Karl Barth: A Reader and Commentary

ISBN: 9781540960733
  • Format:Digital



Karl Barth is one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. His work is considered essential reading for nearly every student of theology. Reading Barth’s theology poses a challenge, however, because of the sheer size of his corpus, the complexity of his claims, and the distance between his context and the context of his readers. In this accessible introduction, a respected scholar in Barthian studies offers a one-stop resource on Barth’s thought, providing a selection of his most important writings, critical commentary, and detailed introductory and concluding chapters.

  • Introduces the life and theology of Karl Barth
  • Provides an overview of Barth’s theological development
  • Includes introductions to each selection that identify the context and main arguments

Part 1: Barth’s Theological Development

  • The Epistle to the Romans
  • The Word of God as the Task of Theology
  • An Answer to Professor Adolf von Harnack
  • The Resurrection of the Dead
  • The Göttingen Dogmatics
  • The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life
  • Preface to Church Dogmatics I/1
  • Farewell
  • The Humanity of God

Part 2: Barth’s Church Dogmatics

  • The Task of Dogmatics
  • The Word of God
  • Revelation and Faith
  • The Doctrine of the Trinity
  • The Missions of the Son and the Spirit
  • The Knowledge of God
  • The Reality of God
  • The Doctrine of Election
  • The Election of Jesus Christ
  • God's Decision for the World
  • Covenant and Creation
  • The Covenant Partner of God
  • God and Nothingness
  • God with Us
  • The Obedience of the Son of God
  • The Exaltation of the Son of Man
  • The Glory of the Mediator
  • The Scope of Salvation
  • Christian Community

Part 3: Barth’s Political Engagement

  • A Brief Reminiscence of the 1920s
  • Sermon on Romans 15:5-13
  • The Barmen Theological Declaration
  • The Role of Christians in Wartime: A Letter to American Christians
  • The Community of Christians and the Community of Citizens
  • Conclusion: The Tradition of Karl Barth
This is the best one-volume anthology of Barth’s theology available in English. Barth's writings are thoughtfully selected to cover his early development, his mature theology, and his political development. Keith Johnson’s critical commentary is superb. This book will be of great service not only in the classroom but also in the pastor’s study and in the hands of any interested reader. It deserves a wide readership wherever there is interest in Karl Barth.

—George Hunsinger, McCord Professor of Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

This volume offers a delightful and illuminating approach to the theology of Karl Barth, one of the most significant theologians in the Protestant tradition. Johnson serves as a well-equipped and sure-footed guide as he draws the reader gently into key excerpts from Barth’s rather daunting and multifaceted corpus of work. Johnson is judicious in his selection of texts, insightful in his introductions, annotations, and explanations, and considered in his rendering of the life and legacy of Barth. The result is a highly impressive achievement, offering an accessible yet informative pathway into the writings of this visionary theologian.

—Paul T. Nimmo, King’s Chair of Systematic Theology, King’s College, University of Aberdeen

Keith Johnson has provided a wonderful collection of texts judiciously selected from the voluminous corpus of Barth’s works. Each reading is accompanied by excellent introductions and commentary. This volume will no doubt introduce many students to Karl Barth, and it is a marvelous resource for all who would seek to learn more about one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century.

Kimlyn J. Bender, professor of Christian theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Keith L. Johnson is assistant professor of theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He earned his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary, ThM from Duke Divinity School, and MDiv from Baylor University. He is the author of Theology as Discipleship, as well as numerous articles. He also coedited Bonhoeffer, Christ, and Culture.