Barth For Armchair Theologians Paperback – Aug 3 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Barth is notable for the complexity of his thought which arises in part from a dilectical approach to theology. Franke very clearly and lucidly navigates the reader through many of the complexities and past some of the simplistic and one-sided interpretations of Barth (Neo-Orthodox versus Post-Modern) to a holistic/comprehensive view.
I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to develop a more nuanced theology, most especially as a primer for those who are considering reading Barth (or have already done so). An excellent read!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book itself is part biography, part historical (Barth's) theology. Franke demonstrates how Barth's theologizing developed under the influence of his personal and world events. From Barth's early family life and academic training to his pastoral and educational work, his maturing thought is illuminated and comprehended as an interaction with culture, life events, and especially his increasing reliance on the Word of God.
Discussion of Barth's magnum opus, Church Dogmatics (CD), does not take up the majority of this book, though it is covered in the longest chapter. Personally, I would have liked to have had two to three times the material discussing CD that Dr. Franke gives. However, what is presented is sufficient to assist the reader in entering into useful dialogue with Barth. I found the insight of making conscious use of the divisions (paragraphs and subsections) of CD most welcome.
Dr. Franke's work also described important works by other Barth scholars; his synopsis of George Hunsinger's & Bruce McCormack's works provide frames of reference and mindset that are crucial, I believe (I've read those works cited), to accurately comprehended Barth's writings.
John Franke, with an engaging and lucid style, tells the interesting story of the life of Karl Barth while explaining his theological development into liberalism and out of it. He concludes with a large chapter on the outline of the Church Dogmatics (which includes tips on how to approach the colossal work) and a chapter on the present and future prospects for engagement with Barth's unique "dialectical" theology.
I highly recommend this book to all those interested in 20th century theology and especially to those like myself interested in reading and understanding Barth.
This is a fine introduction to Barth's life and thought. Dr. Franke traces Barth's life and maps out his journey as one of the premier theologians of modern times. Franke's introduction to Church Dogmatics is a very helpful guide to that massive work.
I am a pastor who tries to read broadly. These little concise "Armchair" books have proven to be a welcome half-way point between deep study and reading for entertainment. They take on deep and solemn subjects but are so well written and easily grasped as to give one an evening of truly relaxing and enjoyable reading. You can finish and have had the pleasure of a good book and feel also that you have been "working," by studying theology! A great combination!
I need to pass these books along to the laity of the church and see how easy they are to digest for those without a formal theological education. About this series I say, "Keep them coming!"
If this book is indicative of the series, I'll be reading more of these "for Armchair Theologians" books.