Dogmatics in Outline

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Sep 2, 1959 - Philosophy - 160 pages
2 Reviews

Barth stands before us as the greatest theologian of the twentieth century, yet the massive corpus of work which he left behind, the multi volume Church Dogmatics, can seem daunting and formidable to readers today. Fortunately his Dogmatics in Outline first published in English in 1949, contains in brilliantly concentrated form even in shorthand, the essential tenets of his thinking. Built around the assertions made in the Apostles Creed the book consists of a series of reflections on the foundation stones of Christian doctrine. Because Dogmatics in Outline derives from very particular circumstances namely the lectures Barth gave in war-shattered Germany in 1946, it has an urgency and a compassion which lend the text a powerful simplicity. Despite its brevity the book makes a tremendous impact, which in this new edition will now be felt by a fresh generation of readers.

 

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Good short summary of a 9,000+ pg. work.

User Review  - smokeybear - Christianbook.com

Karl Barth is quoted so often I wanted to know more about him without reading 14 volumes and 9200 pages! Since he wrote this himself I figure he distilled out the essence. Very readable, understandable. Read full review

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An excellent overview of Barth. I read Gollwitzer's excerpts from the Church Dogmatics, and found this tied together all the loose ends which that book produced. Would recommend that path - Gollwitzer, then Dogmatics in Outline - for anybody serious about understanding Barth in a more academic way.
Here you can see the real core of Barth's theology, so it is easier to actually ask "Do I AGREE with what he is saying? Does it line up with Scriptures?"
For example, he changes the "for us, and for our salvation" in the Creed to mean "for ALL of us" - that is, for the human race as a whole. To my knowledge, he is the first one in Christianity to read this line in that way. So in attempting to explain the historic creed of Christendom, he has to modify it to fit his system. Very revealing.
Also, he changes the "is coming to judge the living and the dead" to "is coming to reveal the judgment which is already accomplished." Of course, for Barth, Jesus is the one who is judged in the place of humanity. (He is the federal head of humanity, in the same way that Adam is, in reformed thinking) So it would be absurd to say that Jesus comes to judge humanity. Thus, he needs to modify the creed again, to allow this "judgment" to really be a revelation of a judgment already accomplished "for us."
To be fair, he does speak of a "judging" as some aspects of humanity passing away, but this is more of what we would think of as the "Bema-seat" judgment, or the judgment which Christians face. It is a judgment where humanity itself passes through, but the sinful elements are burned off - and all people go through this merciful judgment, not just the Christians.
Yes, this is a good resource for understanding Barth.
One should also not overlook Van Til's critiques of Barth in "Christianity and Barthianism" - most of these crituqes have not really been answered by Barthian scholars: they attempt to shut down discussions with Van Til as quickly as possible (for example, saying that he is merely an angry fundamentalist) because they do not have good answers to his critiques.
 

Contents

CONTENTS Foreword to the Torchbook Edition
5
Foreword
7
THE TASK
9
FAITH AS TRUST
15
FAITH AS KNOWLEDGE
22
FAITH AS CONFESSION
28
GOD IN THE HIGHEST
35
GOD THE FATHER
42
HEAVEN AND EARTH
59
JESUS CHRIST
65
THE SAVIOUR AND SERVANT OF GOD
72
GODS ON1Y SON
82
130URLORD
95
SUFFERED IOI 16 UNDER PONTIUS PILATE
108
WAS CRUCIFIED DEAD AND BURIED HE DESCENDED INTO HELL
114
THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD
121

GOD ALMIGHTY
46
GOD THE CREATOR
50

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About the author (1959)

Karl Barth was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1886. A theologian, Barth is considered to be one of the most prolific writers Christendom has ever produced. His Church Dogmatics runs well over 12,000 pages in English translation. There also is a great body of occasional writing. Barth would be worthy of note if only for his first published work, a commentary on The Epistle to the Romans. In 1918, when he published this study, Barth was a young pastor in his native Switzerland. The guns of World War I could still be heard, their angry shells destroying, perhaps forever, the liberal optimism of Continental theology. Where was the progress young Barth had learned about from Harnack in Berlin? Where was human rationality, dispelling the noisome holes of ignorance and superstition, when the great leaders of Christendom descended to the barbarity of trench warfare? For answers Barth turned St. Paul's greatest epistle, as St. Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther had before him. Barth obtained a post at the University of Bonn, but Hitler objected to his work with the Confessing Church (see Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and he was forced to return to his own country, there to produce all his great tomes. Turning theologians from their rational optimism, Barth has driven them to consider again the power of the Word of God-the acted, spoken, inscripturated, incarnated Word was always his chief theme. Against it, all human pride and pretension, all schemes for utopian societies, all theologies based on anything other than the Bible and Christ have proved transient. Barth's objectors reply that Barth's God is too far away like Soren Kierkegaard; that Barth spoke of the "infinite qualitative distinction" between God and man; that Barth ignores scientific advances; and that he cares little for dialogue with other religions. Yet Barth's oppposers never complain of a lack of erudition or ecumenical concern. To some Barth is the greatest theologian the church has produced. Barth died in 1968 as he had hoped-with his Dogmatics still unfinished.

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