with Paul Tillich on Reading Scripture and Culture
By Derek Maris
In studying Karl Barth, one is often daunted by the sheer volume of his writings. Neophytes of Barth’s thought will often seek out primers on his theology, even introductions to specific topics, viewing the actual Church Dogmatics as an unreasonable burden. Beneath this apparent humility hides a less noble reason for avoiding the CD – there is so much to read and understand that laziness or bitterness can short-circuit the fruits of extensive engagement.
While any student of theology can sympathize, one must remember that for Barth there were no short cuts in reading. As the numerous pages of the CD “fine print” notes demonstrate, Barth was a voracious reader of scripture, church history, and culture. His theology was born out of his constant engagement of numerous types of texts; if nothing else, Barth was well-read. In this essay we will seek to learn from this prodigious…