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Abstract reads : "Karl Barth is a theologian who continues to receive both strong criticism and endorsement for his Biblical exegesis, demanding that his use of Scripture is better understood. This paper demonstrates that Barth uses several theological exegetical tools in his theological argumentation in Church Dogmatics II/2, at a place where he is eager to highlight the exegetical foundations of his theological argumentation. Four theological exegetical tools—Narrative, Juxtaposition, Typology, and Dialectic—correspond to four successive stages in Barth’s argumentation in II/2, and account for the way that Scripture functions in Barth’s theological argument. Whole-of-Scripture narrative exegesis frames Barth’s argument (§32); his juxtaposition of disparate texts builds his reconstructed Christocentric election hermeneutic (§33); he uses typology to extend this hermeneutic to God’s other objects of election (the community and the individual) (§34-45); and, finally, Barth draws his discussions to careful conclusions with dialectical exegesis (§35). Each of these terms have also been used to describe Barth’s use of Scripture and argumentation as a whole, but I show that they are best understood as providing a specific function at different stages of his argumentation, even if they do also demonstrate significant overlap. Understood in this way, Barth’s theolog-ical exegesis is more complex than his critics and supporters have appreciated. But each of these theological exegetical tools also manifest something of the moral dilemma at the heart of theological exegesis, and much of the misunderstanding about Barth: that theological concepts are not brought to overbear upon the text of Scripture without having been thoroughly informed by Scripture. To use the language of Oliver O’Donovan, that Scripture is to be read “along the grain.” While themechanics of Barth’s argument does not always demonstrate this moral virtue, his attempt to “let the Bible itself speak” provides a theological exegetical challenge that deserves its legacy of sustained reflection. Master of Theology, Moore Theological College.

2019

Abstract reads : "This thesis analyses and evaluates Karl Barth’s endeavour to reformulate the traditional account of the relation of the essence and attributes of God in line with his principle that God is who he is in the act of his revelation. We inquire whether his diagnosis of problems in the tradition represented in Protestant Orthodoxy is accurate and to what extent Barth’s account amounts to a substantial and consistent reformulation of the tradition. To answer this we examine the doctrine of Amandus Polanus, who isa central representative of Protestant Orthodoxy in Barth’s work. We also examine Isaac Dorner’s doctrine of God, for Barth approves his approach to the attributes. We then examine Barth’s treatment of God’s being and perfections in §§28-30, analysing his approach, his criticism of the tradition and his development of his reformulated account, and comparing and contrasting it with what we find in Polanus and Dorner. Regarding Barth’s criticism of the tradition, we argue that Barth misreads certain statements in the Protestant Orthodox upon which his critique relies and overlooks the role divine perfection plays in the tradition. We conclude that this greatly weakens his case for the necessity of reform. Regarding the role played by Dorner in the development of Barth’s account, we argue that Barth takes up many of Dorner’s arguments against the tradition, and especially shares Dorner’s conviction that revelation discloses objective divine attributes. Yet we argue that Barth develops this line of thought in his own way, not departing from the tradition as far as Dorner does. Regarding the role played by Polanus and the tradition he represents, we argue that they are both friend and foe for Barth, although his criticism is more prominent than his appreciation. In 29 Barth criticises Protestant Orthodoxy for an overemphasis on divine unity, but in §30 he criticises it for an insufficiently integrated exposition of the attributes. We argue that Barth’s basic discontent with Protestant Orthodoxy lies in his conviction that revelation conveys a positive knowledge of God, not merely what God is nowhere that Barth’s principle that God is who he is in the act of his revelation provides a source of coherent development for his account. It reformulates and reorganises the traditional doctrine of the divine essence and attributes. The interaction between the Protestant Orthodox tradition and Barth’s revelation principle provides Barth’s account of the being and attributes of God with an underlying logic that gives it substance and consistency and distinguishes it from both the conceptualism of Protestant Orthodoxy and the realism of Dorner. Introduction Part one — Conceptualism and realism Part two — Against ‘semi-nominalism Part three—Barth’s developed account of the perfections Conclusion A thesis submitted in fulfilment for the degree of Master of Theology, Moore Theological College.

2022-08-01

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