Assumptions behind Barth's Dialogue with Catholicism at Münster

Karl Barth can and has been characterized both as radically anti-Catholic and radically ecumenical. What makes it difficult to arbitrate such competing claims is that both are true of Barth at different times. One of the times that Barth was favorably disposed to Catholic theology was during his time teaching in Münster. As Amy Marga points out in the below quotation, Barth's theology at that time shared a number of important assumptions with Catholic theology in this period. As Amy further makes clear, however, Barth finally rejected these assumptions in his mature theology.

Karl Barth’s Dialogue with Catholicism in Göttingen and Münster: Its Significance for His Doctrine of God, 92 (as usual, bold is mine):
Barth started out with three assumptions about the Incarnation that made his conversation with Roman Catholicism in Münster an unproblematic one. First, he was working with the assumption that the Incarnation presupposes creation. Because the Incarnation is reconciliation, Barth was making the assumption that reconciliation presupposes creation. This assumption is the most significant one in his Münster lectures... The second assumption concerns hist affirmation of an "original relationship" between God and the human that is presupposed by the Incarnation. The flesh of Jesus Christ does not at this point in Barth's theology incorporate all flesh into this original relationship (as it would later on in his thought). Third, Barth assumed that the reality of the Incarnation, and therefore the reality of the event of reconciliation is a reality that coincides peacefully with creaturely reality. This relation produces a balance of grace and sinfulness in the human being. The presence of these assumptions in the Münster lectures at this point in time allows Barth to show a surprising degree of ecumenical openness; he even brings the Catholic terminology of the analogia entis into his orbit of thought. They are assumptions that Hans Urs von Balthasar thought he saw in Barth's later theology, but in fact, they are revised before the decade of the 1920s is through.



Popular Posts

Abortion, Authoritarian Self-Deception, Evangelicals, and Trump: a collected Twitter essay from Christopher Stroop

"Jesus was a failure" - an anonymous missive on the possibility of faith in the modern world

What’s the Deal with Wolfhart Pannenberg? A guest post by Andrew Hollingsworth

Beating the Devil Down in Georgia: On Reading Deeper Waters by Nibs Stroupe

“We must become the prayer”: an anonymous missive on the pastoral task after the death of God