Tweeting Christine Tietz's "Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict"

It took me longer than I would have liked to take it up and read, but I have now worked my way through Christine Tietz's Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict.

It is very good.

In fact, reading it prompted me to update my guide to reading Barth (which I origianlly wrote in 2007 and haven't updated since ~2013) in order to include it: So, You Want To Read Karl Barth?.

Very early in the process of reading Tietz's book I realized that I would want to share about the volume. So I decided to tweet my way through it. And below I have pulled together all those tweets for folks who may have seen one or two and wondered about the rest, folks who might be interested but aren't on Twitter, etc. Enjoy reading, and then go but the book!


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This is great! Your ad hoc reflections seem spot on to me. Tietz's account of Barth's struggles with his father really shed light on the other fraught relationships, personal and professional, he would have later in life. And who even knew how much tension there was between Karl and his mother? My gut reaction to reading the extremely painful accounts of the Karl-Nelly-Lolo triangle was neither to dismiss or bracket the problems nor to be censorious in an uncomplicated way. That said, of course, it seems to me that both Nelly and von Kirschbaum both received a pretty crappy deal in the interest in promoting the vocation of the "great man." Reading in depth about that business made me sad. Barth's cluelessness in dealing with the evolving role of women in the ecumenical movement, which you point out in your thread, also struck me as significant -- and maybe along with the other relationships I've mentioned is revelatory of Barth's overall difficulties in dealing with women -- or at least, in dealing with them as equals. For my part, I still admire and respect Barth and his intellectual contributions to the church -- the account of his recalcitrance in standing up to Nazis, capitalists, and cold warriors, and the canniness and deft with which he navigated these encounters, makes him, still, in many ways a very appealing figure for me. Thanks to Tietz, at last, some of the common distortions of Barth, both in hagiography and in caricature, are stripped away and the figure of a real human being begins to emerge.
(Sorry, but I'm just too verbose to post all that on Twitter. -- ;-) )

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