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Barth, Religion, and the Religions

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth
EditorsPaul Dafydd Jones, Paul T Nimmo
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter40
Pages637-653
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780199689781
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Abstract

Barth is often depicted by theologians of religion as representing an exclusivist position on both salvation and the knowledge of God. This chapter troubles these claims through a reading of Barth’s discussion of religion in the second edition of his commentary on Romans and his critique of religion in §17 of Church Dogmatics. Building on Barth’s commitment to the primacy of revelation and particularity in §17, the chapter then critically challenges how Barth extends his critique of religion to non-Christian religions, which are often characterized by sweeping generalizations and dismissals. Barth thus fails to come to grips with the challenge that other religious traditions present to Christianity—not as religions, but as alternative claims to revelation. As such, theological engagement with other religions after Barth should not be based on a return to the category of religion, but on a deeper engagement with the primacy of revelation and particularism—both those of Christianity as well as those of others.

    Research areas

  • comparative theology, knowledge of God, religious diversity, theology of religions, theories of religion

ID: 38001873