Thursday, November 16, 2006

Eberhard Jüngel on Karl Barth

Some of you know that I have been spending the vast majority of my time over the last month attempting to read through Eberhard Jüngel's article "Karl Barths Lehre Von Der Taufe: Ein Hinweis Auf Ihre Probleme." This article only appears in German, so it was necessary that I read it in German. And, oh, what an experience it has been. I must say, however, that I have seen my ability to read theological German develop significantly through this project (I went into it having studied German for reading knowledge over the course of 6 weeks this past summer...). Below are some quotations taken from the closing paragraphs of this article, translated by yours truly. I usually don't go in for Jüngel, but I thought that these were interesting sentiments. The page citations are to Jüngel’s Barth-Studien.



“Barth’s doctrine of baptism will be disputed more than its dogmatic premises. And, its practical consequences will be fought more than itself.” (285)
“The doctrine of baptism is also in this negative sense not an appendix to the Church Dogmatics, but rather, in a more certain way, the rehearsal of an example.” (286-7)
“Whoever wants infant baptism should not nourish himself for the pulpit from Barth’s doctrine of predestination…One or the other [infant or believer’s baptism] – one must decide for oneself. And, precisely this constraint to decide does our churches good.” (287)
“This treatise was written for the objectively inclined opponent. However, I confess gladly that it was also written against the many comfortable spirits that have long since identified Barth as Neo-orthodox or as a revelational positivist; or credited Barth as a church father or as a…guardian of the status quo.” (288)
Barth’s theology is “centered around God himself, but God himself for men. Because of that there can be for this dogmatics no mix of divine and human being or act. Just as God through acts of divine being proves that he is himself, so should humans through acts of human being prove to be human. That humans can do so is owed to God himself. That humans should do so is commanded by God. That humans do so corresponds to God himself. But, in this way, the man himself is himself.” (Ibid)
“Barth’s theology is speech of the God speaking with people and therefore at the same time speech by people speaking with God.” (Ibid)

2 comments:

D.W. Congdon said...

Thanks for the translations. I procured copy of Gottes Sein ist im Werden at AAR. I look forward to reading it myself.

WTM said...

Nice! I imagine that Gottes Sein ist im Werden is quite a bit more complicated in terms of German syntax than was this article, if only because the extended format with give Jungel more space to develop his own thought. I perceived even within this article that the difficulty of the German increased the further Jungel got away from Barth's text.

Will you be studying German next summer?