Karl Barth is the greatest theological genius that has appeared on the scene for centuries. He cannot be appreciated except in the context of the greatest theologians such as Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, nor can his thinking be adequately measured except in the context of the whole history of theology and philosophy. Not only does he recapitulate in himself in the most extraordinary way the development of all modern theology since the Reformation, but he towers above it in such a way that he has created a situation in the Church, comparable only to the Reformation, in which massive clarification through debate with the theology of the Roman Church can go on. Karl Barth has, in fact, so changed the whole landscape of theology, Evangelical and Roman alike, that the other great theologians of modern times appear in comparison rather like jobbing gardeners.Hyperbole at points? Maybe. Crying for further clarification? Certainly. Still, leave it to TFT to write such a sweeping account of Barth’s significance.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
T.F. Torrance on Karl Barth's Significance
This is from the first page of Torrance’s introduction to Barth’s Theology and Church: Shorter Writings, 1920-1928 (Louise Pettibone Smith, trans.; New York: Harper & Row, 1962).