Re-Figuring Theology: The Rhetoric of Karl Barth

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SUNY Press, 1991 - Religion - 214 pages
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Here is a rhetorical treatment of Karl Barth's early theology. Although scholars have long noted the rhetorical power of Barth's work, calling it volcanic and explosive, this book uses rhetoric to illuminate the peculiar nature of his prose. It displays a Barth whose prose is radically unstable and inseparable from his theological arguments.

The author connects Barth's early theology to the Expressionism of the Weimar Republic. He develops an original theory of figures of speech, relying on the philosophies of Paul Ricoeur and Hayden White, to delve more deeply into the particular configurations of Barth's writings. Nietzsche's hyperbole and Kierkegaard's irony are examined as rhetorical precedents of Barth's style. The closing chapter surveys Barth's later, realistic theology and then suggests ways in which his earlier tropes, especially the figures of excess and self-negation, can serve to enable theology to speak today.
 

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Contents

Toward a Tropology
19
Metaphorof CrisisCrisis of Metaphor
47
Magicof the Extreme
83
Web of Irony
117
ReReading Barth Today
149
Notes
179
Index
213
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About the author (1991)

Stephen H. Webb is Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wabash College.

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