Karl Barth

7 Dec, 2023 230 Christianity

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century. Karl Barth (1886 - 1968) rejected the liberal theology of his time which, he argued, used the Bible and religion to help humans understand themselves rather than prepare them to open themselves to divine revelation. Barth’s aim was to put God and especially Christ at the centre of Christianity. He was alarmed by what he saw as the dangers in a natural theology where God might be found in a rainbow or an opera by Wagner; for if you were open to finding God in German culture, you could also be open to accepting Hitler as God’s gift as many Germans did. Barth openly refused to accept Hitler’s role in the Church in the 1930s on these theological grounds as well as moral, for which he was forced to leave Germany for his native Switzerland.

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  • Stephen Plant 4 episodes
    Dean and Runcie Fellow at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge
  • Christiane Tietz No other episodes
    Professor for Systematic Theology at the University of Zurich
  • Tom Greggs 2 episodes
    Marischal Professor of Divinity at the University of Aberdeen

Reading list

  • God Here and Now
    Karl Barth (Routledge, 2003) Google Books →
  • Dogmatics in Outline
    Karl Barth (trans. G. T. Thomson) (SCM Press, 1966) Google Books →
  • Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical Texts
    Eberhard Busch (trans. John Bowden) (Grand Rapids, 1994) Google Books →
  • How to Read Karl Barth: The Shape of His Theology
    George Hunsinger (Oxford University Press, 1993) Google Books →
  • Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness
    Joseph L. Mangina (Routledge, 2004) Google Books →
  • Karl Barth: A Guide for the Perplexed
    Paul T. Nimmo (Bloomsbury, 2013) Google Books →
  • Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict
    Christiane Tietz (Oxford University Press, 2021) Google Books →
  • Karl Barth: Outstanding Christian Thinkers
    John Webster (Continuum, 2004) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001t2zf

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001t2zf

Auto-category: 230 (Christian theology)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Karl Barth, 1886-1968, was one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century, some say for the past few hundred years, putting God, and especially Christ, at the centre of Christianity.