- Paperback: 155 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (September 2, 1959)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006130056X
- ISBN-13: 978-0061300561
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dogmatics in Outline Paperback – September 2, 1959
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"An excellent summary of and introduction to Berthian theology."-- "The Times (London) Literary Supplement""This volume will bring [readers] into contact with a razor-edged mind grappling fearlessly with the profoundest questions of the human spirit."-- "The Christian World"
About the Author
Karl Barth (1886-1968) was Professor of Theology at the University of Basel, Switzerland. One of the greatest theologians and preachers of the twentieth century, he is best known for his monumental systematic theology, "Church Dogmatics". --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Publisher: Harper & Row Publishing
Reading Level: Moderate
"Where the life of the church is exhausted in self-serving, it smacks of death." (146)
Karl Barth's Dogmatics in Outline is a summary of the Apostle's Creed from 1946. Barth calls them "merely an outline of the multi-volume Dogmatik" (6). This is to sell them short. Anyone who can state, as Barth did of the concluding lectures, that "now they are published, I notice their weak points and will not grumble at any reviewer who brings them to my attention" (8) deserves to be read as one who is critical of all words — including their own.
Dogmatics in Outline is not without fault. Nor will any reader walk away without disagreements (apparently even Barth). Yet still, Barth is a masterful guide through the Apostle's Creed from the Reformed tradition providing insights and thoughts that the modern church needs to hear. His usage of the Heidelberg Catechism throughout his exposition provides great historical light and reveals that many of his insights are not novel. Yet, he would still call these lectures "a document of our time" (8).
Though the setting is formal, Barth's teaching is quite straightforward. While a general knowledge of the Apostle's Creed will help a reader, Barth expounds upon the creed without any presuppositions. In many cases, his challenges to liberal theology remind of modern problems the church still faces. Any Christian seeking an introduction — or refresher — on Karl Barth will benefit from the reading of Dogmatics in Outline.
"Where God's grace is rejected, man rushes into his own mischief." (106)
In particular, the three chapters on the structure of faith (Faith as Trust, Faith as Knowledge, and Faith as Confession) are particularly useful. The contrast between faith as trust and as knowledge was and is still difficult for me to totally understand in the context of this discussion. If reading the chapter on trust, one might accuse Barth (as some have) of fideism, but then taken as a pill with the chapter on knowledge, the waters are muddied. Knowledge rightly understood, knowledge as wisdom or Sophia rather that Scientia, Barth argues, is the sort of Christian knowledge that is related to faith (and encompasses the entire existence of man). Finally the church's job, in faith, is to confess its faith. It must proclaim, even in `unedifying language' familiar to those `out there'. Christian faith does not happen in a 'snail's shell' or in a comfortable dualism. Confession is not a weak thing that happens weekly in a church service, but in our every involvement outside of life Barth calls the Christian to confess in love, in ways that `Mr. Everyman' can understand. To paraphrase St. Francis, spread the Gospel, and use words only if necessary.
By far the most moving chapter is on the coming judgment of Christ. Judgment never seems to be a fun topic, but in this case Barth points us to Christ as the one who will create order and restore what has been destroyed. (The particular university was apparently in near ruins in the post-war landscape, perhaps making this a particularly poignant point for many students as well as Barth himself). At judgment all tears will be wiped away. It won't be a question of our faith or lack of faith - but it will be the point where "it is finished" comes into full view. Christ has done his work on earth, which holds for all, Christian and non-Christian alike. An amazing lecture that truly challenges any sort of knee-jerk reaction against Christ the Judge.
This was for me a book to savor and delight in, and it is one that I shall revisit again and again throughout my life.
If you want to read Barth himself but don't want to tackle the Church Dogmatics yet, this is a great choice.
The book encourages one to explore topics that one decides to pursue with great references.