A friend and 3rd year seminary student, Taylor Mertins, recently expressed his excitement over finally diving into the writing of Karl Barth. Long ago in my college and seminary days, I made my way through Karl Barth’s massive Church Dogmatics. I was taught to do theology at UVA and Princeton and in both schools Barth casts a considerable shadow.
Barth, the most significant theologian of the 20th century- maybe since Aquinas, wrote his Dogmatics from 1927 until his death in 1968. It contains 2 million words on 9,000 pages. Even more impressive when you consider Barth wasn’t a traditional academic theologian. He never earned a PhD though he taught others who did. Even better, Barth was one of the leaders of the Confessing Church Movement, the small band of Protestant Christians who actually opposed Nazism.
The depth and breadth of Barth can seem daunting to some and can discourage others from ever cracking a volume open. But once you immerse yourself in Barth, get to know the rhythm of his writing style, he opens the scripture in an almost symphonic way.
So here’s my plan and my invitation. I want to form a Barth reading group. I’ve drawn up a schedule that will take a bit more than 2 years, reading about 20-30 pages a week. Click: Karl Barth Reading Group- Year 1
I’ll begin next Monday so order your copy today.
Each week, I’ll write a post summarizing and reflecting on what we’ve read and invite your responses as well. Think of this as a small group study for which you don’t have to get dressed and come to church.
I know there are plenty of you who read this blog who are bible and theology nerds deep down. You come to every class I teach. You read every post. You email me questions and pushback.
If that’s you, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
First person not named Teer Hardy to tell me they’re in gets a free copy of Volume 1.1.
You can purchase the Dogmatics here.
The recent Study Edition Volumes have broken the CD into smaller, manageable books that leave out Barth’s long, sometimes distracting footnotes.
What do you say? You’re not chicken are you?