Barth, Karl

(1886-1968)
   theologian; his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1919) led fellow theologians to compare him with Martin Luther (Pope Pius XII deemed him the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas). Born in Basel to a professor of church history, he began studies at Berlin* with Adolf von Harnack* and then pursued theology at Marburg under Wilhelm Hermann and Hermann Cohen. During 1911-1921, while pastoring an industrial parish in Switzerland, he became acutely aware of social injustice. Ever wres-tling with the polarities between God and man, he labored to distinguish his social concern from his Christianity; when he finally joined the SPD in 1931, he claimed that he was embracing the Republic, not socialism.
   Appointed to Gottingen's theological faculty in 1921, Barth went to Münster in 1925 and to Bonn in 1930. Already ill at ease as a student with the relativism and historicism practiced within Protestantism, he saw no paradox in his belief in the absolute "otherness" of God (a Kierkegaardian concept) and his passion over the world's social misery; indeed, he believed that the two intersected in the person of Jesus, the supreme medium between God and humanity. Voicing concern over contemporary theology, he was wary of modern pretensions to solve society's problems. A prophetic voice in the tradition of Calvin, he called the church back to the Bible and its living foundation, Christ. His central mes-sage, which gained wide acceptance, was fundamental to his Romans commen-tary—a critique of idealism, romanticism, and religious socialism. Church Dogmatics (1932-1959), which occupied him for thirty years, partially recon-ciled him with institutional Christianity.
   Barth was in the vanguard of the Protestant* struggle against Nazism. His vocal criticism of Hitler's* treatment of Jews* overlapped with his Christ-centered perspective on life; it found substance in the 1934 Barman Declaration, a document largely written by Barth and central to the Kirchenkampf against the effort to control German Christianity. Although he was deprived in 1935 of his chair at Bonn, his Christian stand gained him wide prestige. He returned to Switzerland and taught systematic theology at Basel until 1962.
   REFERENCES:McCormack, Karl Barth's Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology; Scholder, Churches and the Third Reich; Torrance, Karl Barth.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Barth,Karl — Barth (bärt, bärth), Karl. 1886 1968. Swiss Protestant theologian who advocated a return to the principles of the Reformation and the teachings of the Bible. His published works include Church Dogmatics (1932).   Barthʹi·an adj. * * * …   Universalium

  • Barth, Karl — (1886 1968)    German Protestant theologian    Karl Barth, one of the most important Protestant theologians of the 20th century, was the leading proponent of Neo Orthodoxy, a conservative, biblically oriented theology that became prominent after… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Barth, Karl — born May 10, 1886, Basel, Switz. died Dec. 9/10, 1968, Basel Swiss theologian. He studied at the Universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Marburg, and in 1911–21 he was a pastor at Safenwil, Switz. The tragedy of World War I made him question the… …   Universalium

  • Barth, Karl — (1886–1968)    Theologian.    Barth was born in Basle and was educated in the nineteenth century liberal theological tradition. After the carnage of the First World War, he produced his ground breaking Commentary to the Epistle to the Romans.… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Barth, Karl — (1886 1968)    Barth was not a Christian philoso pher but a Christian theologian. Indeed, he rejected any form of philosophy that he thought exalted itself against God s self revelation. The acme of this was his famous review of Emil Brunner s… …   Christian Philosophy

  • BARTH, Karl — (1886 1968)    he began as a MINISTER at Geneva (1909 1911) and was for ten years (1911 1921) Pastor at Safenwil and it was here under the shadow of the war of 1914 1918, in direct relation to his pastoral responsibility, he was led to a radical… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Barth, Karl — (1886–1968) Probably the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th cent. Born in Switzerland, Barth became internationally known for publishing a commentary in 1919 on Paul s epistle to the Romans; brilliantly translated into English by the… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Barth, Karl — (1886–1968) Protestant theologian, and professor at Bonn and Basel. His doctrines include the denial of the possibility of attaining any knowledge of God by the use of reason (i.e. denial of natural theology ), and renewed stress on the… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Barth, Karl — ► (1886 1968) Teólogo calvinista suizo. Sus obras principales son: Carta a los romanos (1919) y Dogmática eclesiástica (1930). * * * (10 may. 1886, Basilea, Suiza–9/10 dic. 1968, Basilea). Teólogo suizo. Estudió en las universidades de Berlín,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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