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Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth
Baker Academic / 2008 / Paperback
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In this enlightening study, McCormack reconsiders the importance of Barth and clarifies the theologian's efforts to understand "orthodoxy" under the conditions of modernity. He discusses Barth's place in 19th-century theology, his relationship to postliberalism and postmodernism, and his theological ontology; and offers opinions on the Barth "renaissance" in America and his contributions to the science/theology debate. 352 pages, softcover from Baker.
In this enlightening study, Bruce McCormack reconsiders the importance of Karl Barth's theology. McCormack begins with Barth's relation to nineteenth-century theologians and then turns to critique the works of contemporary authors within postmodern circles who have attempted to reinterpret Barth to fit their categories. The later sections of McCormack's study probe more deeply into Barth's theology and consider European perspectives. As the title affirms, McCormack suggests that Barth was, in fact, both orthodox and modern in his theology.
McCormack has established a reputation as a thoughtful scholar, and his study of Barth will certainly find a broad audience in academic circles. But serious readers and clergy will also find it a helpful guide to Barth's theology and his continuing importance.
"McCormack moves with consummate ease and authority through the development of modern theology and the substance of Christian dogmatics. This is a book of rare historical and theological penetration from a commanding figure in Barth scholarship." -John Webster, King's College, University of Aberdeen
"This distinguished collection of studies presents Barth's theology as an attempt to discern what it means to be orthodox under the conditions of modernity, most of all, after the dissolution of the long-standing pact between Christian theology and classical metaphysics and epistemology. Each essay is a model of lucidity as well as wide learning and discriminating intelligence. McCormack moves with consummate ease and authority through the development of modern theology and the substance of Christian dogmatics. This is a book of rare historical and theological penetration from a commanding figure in Barth scholarship." -John Webster, chair of systematic theology, King's College, University of Aberdeen
"With this powerful collection of essays, Bruce McCormack secures his reputation as one of the most exciting theologians in North America today. Uncompromising yet balanced in its interpretative judgments, fascinated by Barth's dogmatic ingenuity, and forward-looking in its constructive gestures, this excellent book will gain a diverse and thankful readership." -Paul Dafydd Jones, assistant professor of Western religious thought, University of Virginia
"Bruce McCormack has spent the last decade and a half quietly developing what may be the most theologically provocative and historically self-conscious research program on offer today, the fruits of which have been gathered together in this welcome volume. I imagine that we will be discussing these essays for years to come, especially now that this volume brings them to a deservedly wider audience." -Kevin W. Hector, assistant professor of theology and the philosophy of religion, University of Chicago Divinity School
"This collection of essays represents another major contribution from Bruce McCormack to our understanding of Barth. Typically rigorous, imaginative, and forceful, it provides frequent insight into Barth's massive theological output. McCormack shows how Barth's work continues to assail those in the church and the academy who search for a strong theology that remains alert to the ongoing problems and challenges of modernity. This volume will quickly become a standard point of reference for subsequent work in the field." -David Fergusson, professor of divinity, University of Edinburgh
Forty years after his death, Karl Barth remains one of the most influential theologians of the last century. Of late, much has been written attempting to reassess his philosophical assumptions and theology from the perspectives of Anglo-American postmodernism and postliberalism. In this intriguing volume, Bruce McCormack presents critical chapters that challenge the prevailing revisionist trends and focus on Barth as a modern yet orthodox figure.
As he notes in his introduction, McCormack self-consciously reads Barth from a Continental perspective, and his essays will likely be controversial in their challenge to contemporary American perspectives. The first two sections of his study provide context for reading Barth in relation to nineteenth-century German theology and engage recent postmodern and postliberal views. The third section focuses more particularly on an aspect that McCormack believes is critically important in the contemporary setting--Barth's theological ontology. The final section gathers together occasional writings that survey several issues of continuing concern.
This collection will be of great interest to those who already have some knowledge of Karl Barth's theology, but it will also provide serious readers with an approachable and thoughtful account of several areas of critical concern for contemporary theology.
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