From the 1920s on, Karl Barth’s thought was received with great interest by Protestants and Catholic theologians alike. This study outlines how and why this happened, especially in the period leading up to Vatican II. Benjamin Dahlke shows how the preoccupation with Barth’s Epistle to the Romans and the Church Dogmatics triggered a theological renewal among Catholic theologians. In addition to Hans Urs von Balthasar’s critical appropriation of Barth’s thought, the controversy about the issue of analogia entis with Erich Przywara is also dealt with.
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Benjamin Dahlke’s book concisely tells the previously unknown, but nevertheless fascinating, story of the intensive dialogue between Karl Barth and a rather varied group of German speaking Catholic colleagues. Parts of Barth’s most attentive audience, it seems, came from a field that he himself looked upon with a curious mixture of suspicion, disdain, and lively interest. Dahlke shows that conversing with Barth or criticizing his theology became one of the most striking phenomena of Catholic theology in search of reform from the 1930s to the 1960s. Dahlke’s finely written book is in itself a history of Catholic theology on the way to Vatican II.
—Leonhard Hell, University of Mainz
Benjamin Dahlke is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Catholic Theology at the University of Mainz in Germany.