Karl Barth is widely regarded as the most important theologian of the twentieth century, and his observations about the church and its place in a modern world continue to engage religious scholars nearly fifty years after his death. This English translation of the Swiss-published Conversations is a three-volume collection featuring correspondence, articles, interviews, and other short-form writings by Barth from 1959–1968.
Among this set are dialogues with representatives of the Evangelical Community Movement (1959); conversations with prison chaplains and a question-and-answer session with the Conference of the World Student Christian Federation (1960); discussions with Methodist preachers, Zurich pastors, and Catholic students of theology (1961); press conferences in New York and Chicago (1962); and an interview at the United Nations (1962). Within these pages, scholars and students will find a comprehensive view into Barth’s life and thinking about theology and its role in society today.
Karl Barth (1886–1968), a Swiss Protestant theologian and pastor, was one of the leading thinkers of twentieth-century theology, described by Pope Pius XII as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas. He helped to found the Confessing Church and his thinking formed the theological framework for the Barmen Declaration. He taught in Germany, where he opposed the Nazi regime. In 1935, when he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler, he was retired from his position at the University of Bonn and deported to Switzerland. There he continued to write and develop his theology.
Barth’s work and influence resulted in the formation of what came to be known as neo-orthodoxy. For Barth, modern theology, with its assent to science, immanent philosophy, and general culture and with its stress on feeling, was marked by indifference to the word of God and to the revelation of God in Jesus, which he thought should be the central concern of theology.