Daniel Barth Biography & Facts
Karl Barth (; German: [bart]; (1886-05-10)10 May 1886 – (1968-12-10)10 December 1968) was a Swiss Calvinist theologian. Barth is best known for his commentary The Epistle to the Romans, his involvement in the Confessing Church, including his authorship of the Barmen Declaration, and especially his unfinished multi-volume theological summa the Church Dogmatics (published between 1932–1967). Barth's influence expanded well beyond the academic realm to mainstream culture, leading him to be featured on the cover of Time on 20 April 1962.Like many Protestant theologians of his generation, Barth was educated in a liberal theology influenced by Adolf von Harnack, Friedrich Schleiermacher and others. His pastoral career began in the rural Swiss town of Safenwil, where he was known as the "Red Pastor from Safenwil". There he became increasingly disillusioned with the liberal Christianity in which he had been trained. This led him to write the first edition of his The Epistle to the Romans (a.k.a. Romans I), published in 1919, in which he resolved to read the New Testament differently.
Barth began to gain substantial worldwide acclaim with the publication in 1921 of the second edition of his commentary, The Epistle to the Romans, in which he openly broke from liberal theology.He influenced many significant theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer who supported the Confessing Church, and Jürgen Moltmann, Helmut Gollwitzer, James H. Cone, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Rudolf Bultmann, Thomas F. Torrance, Hans Küng, and also Reinhold Niebuhr, Jacques Ellul, and novelists such as Flannery O'Connor, John Updike, and Miklós Szentkuthy.
Among many other areas, Barth has also had a profound influence on modern Christian ethics, influencing the work of ethicists such as Stanley Hauerwas, John Howard Yoder, Jacques Ellul and Oliver O'Donovan.
Early life and education
Karl Barth was born on 10 May 1886, in Basel, Switzerland, to Johann Friedrich "Fritz" Barth (1852–1912) and Anna Katharina (Sartorius) Barth (1863–1938). Karl had two younger brothers, Peter Barth (1888–1940) and Heinrich Barth (1890–1965), and two sisters, Katharina and Gertrude. Fritz Barth was a theology professor and pastor and desired for Karl to follow his positive line of Christianity, which clashed with Karl's desire to receive a liberal Protestant education. Karl began his student career at the University of Bern, and then transferred to the University of Berlin to study under Adolf von Harnack, and then transferred briefly to the University of Tübingen before finally in Marburg to study under Wilhelm Herrmann (1846–1922).From 1911 to 1921, Barth served as a Reformed pastor in the village of Safenwil in the canton of Aargau. In 1913 he married Nelly Hoffmann, a talented violinist. They had a daughter and four sons, one of whom was the New Testament scholar Markus Barth (6 October 1915 – 1 July 1994). Later he was professor of theology in Göttingen (1921–1925), Münster (1925–1930) and Bonn (1930–1935), in Germany. While serving at Göttingen he met Charlotte von Kirschbaum, who became his long-time secretary and assistant; she played a large role in the writing of his epic, the Church Dogmatics. He was deported from Germany in 1935 after he refused to sign (without modification) the Oath of Loyalty to Adolf Hitler and went back to Switzerland and became a professor in Basel (1935–1962).
Break from liberalism
In August 1914, Karl Barth was dismayed to learn that his venerated teachers including Adolf von Harnack had signed the "Manifesto of the Ninety-Three German Intellectuals to the Civilized World"; as a result, Barth concluded he could not follow their understanding of the Bible and history any longer.
The Epistle to the Romans
Barth first began his commentary The Epistle to the Romans (German: Der Römerbrief) in the summer of 1916 while he was still a pastor in Safenwil, with the first edition appearing in December 1918 (but with a publication date of 1919). On the strength of the first edition of the commentary, Barth was invited to teach at the University of Göttingen. Barth decided around October 1920 that he was dissatisfied with the first edition and heavily revised it the following eleven months, finishing the second edition around September 1921. Particularly in the thoroughly re-written second edition of 1922, Barth argued that the God who is revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus challenges and overthrows any attempt to ally God with human cultures, achievements, or possessions. The book's popularity led to its republication and reprinting in several languages.
In 1934, as the Protestant Church attempted to come to terms with Nazi Germany, Barth was largely responsible for the writing of the Barmen Declaration (Barmer Erklärung). This declaration rejected the influence of Nazism on German Christianity by arguing that the Church's allegiance to the God of Jesus Christ should give it the impetus and resources to resist the influence of other lords, such as the German Führer, Adolf Hitler. Barth mailed this declaration to Hitler personally. This was one of the founding documents of the Confessing Church and Barth was elected a member of its leadership council, the Bruderrat.
He was forced to resign from his professorship at the University of Bonn in 1935 for refusing to swear an oath to Hitler. Barth then returned to his native Switzerland, where he assumed a chair in systematic theology at the University of Basel. In the course of his appointment, he was required to answer a routine question asked of all Swiss civil servants: whether he supported the national defense. His answer was, "Yes, especially on the northern border!" The newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung carried his 1936 criticism of the philosopher Martin Heidegger for his support of the Nazis. In 1938 he wrote a letter to a Czech colleague Josef Hromádka in which he declared that soldiers who fought against Nazi Germany were serving a Christian cause.
Barth's theology found its most sustained and compelling expression in his five-volume magnum opus, the Church Dogmatics (Kirchliche Dogmatik). Widely regarded as an important theological work, the Church Dogmatics represents the pinnacle of Barth's achievement as a theologian. Church Dogmatics runs to over six million words and 9,000 pages – one of the longest works of systematic theology ever written. The Church Dogmatics is in five volumes: the Doctrine of the Word of God, the Doctrine of God, the Doctrine of Creation, the Doctrine of Reconciliation and the Doctrine of Redemption. Barth's planned fifth volume was never written and the fourth volume's final part-volume was unfinished.
Later life and death
After the end of the Second World War, Barth became an important voice in support both of German penitence and of reconciliation with churches abroad. Together with Hans Iwand, he authored the Darmstadt .... Discover the Daniel Barth popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Daniel Barth books.