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Doctrine of the Word of God: Prolegomena to Church Dogmatics by Karl Barth

By Karl Barth

Described by means of Pope Pius XII because the most crucial theologian considering the fact that Thomas Aquinas, the Swiss pastor and theologian, Karl Barth, remains to be an incredible effect on scholars, students and preachers today.

Barth's theology came upon its expression almost always via his heavily reasoned fourteen-part magnum opus, Die Kirchliche Dogmatik. Having taken over 30 years to put in writing, the Church Dogmatics is thought of as essentially the most vital theological works of all time, and represents the head of Barth's success as a theologian.

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Both allow for the findings of biblical criticism. For both, pluralism, historical development, and ambiguity are inevi­ table. Judaism no longer speaks in clear-cut, authoritarian terms. That is why both positions will be rejected by the modern tra­ ditionalist and welcomed by other Jews who prize the individ­ ualism and freedom that Rosenzweig and, to a lesser extent, Heschel recognize. Of course, with freedom and individualism comes responsibility—and not a little anxiety. The Jewish Myth We have come full circle.

Yet the locus of the authority of the Torah has shifted radi­ cally, from the supernatural God to the human community, for it is out of Israel’s collective life that Torah emerged. Moreover, Israel’s original conception of Torah can be recast as Israel’s salvational vision is refined. Hence, Jewish belief and practice change as the community changes. What identifies these evernew formulations as Jewish is simply the fact that they emerge out of the collective life of the Jewish community. Judaism, then, is whatever the Jewish community says it is.

But what gives this teaching authority over us—its antiq­ uity? The community that has transmitted it over the centuries?  Revelation Or the notion that somehow it records or reflects God’s “re­ vealed” will? If the last of these, then how did God’s will be­ come embodied in a set of books? And if it is recorded in a set of books, how can the contemporary Reform and Conservative movements assert their own authority to reject or modify por­ tions of that tradition? Yet on this issue the Torah speaks in diverse and frequently contradic­ tory voices.

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