On “Aufhebung” in Barth’s Account of Religion

I’ve been working in Sven Ensminger’s book, Karl Barth’s Theology as a Resource for a Christian Theology of Religions (Bloomsbury, 2014), and the below stuck out as something that I wanted to share. I appreciated Ensminger’s careful attention at numerous points to the subtleties of Barth’s language, some of which is easily lost in English translation. Here Ensminger discusses the various connotations attached to the term Aufhebung in Barth’s treatment of religion in CD/KD §17. This is from page 52 in Ensminger’s book:
  1. Revelation will single out religion insofar as it bears witness to the name of Jesus Christ (this will be Barth’s argument particularly in the third section of §17 on the true religion).
  2. Revelation will restrain or suspend religion in order to ensure that it is aware that it cannot stand on its own (this will be Barth’s argument particularly in the second section of §17 on religion being unbelief).
  3. Revelation will uphold and preserve religion insofar as it is true to the revelation in Jesus Christ (this is slightly different from the first point as this is more an ongoing process, also evident in the third section of §17, but one of the central concerns of Church Dogmatics as a whole).

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