Portrait of Karl Barth | Review – Intro

Posted on April 21, 2011 by


I have finally finished the introduction to the biography of Karl Barth.

The reason I picked up this little book is because several of the other books I am reading reference Barth, positively and negatively, and I felt that my limited knowledge of him (basically the pronunciation of his last name) necessitated that I learn about this influential figure in the theological world.

I picked up this specific little bio for a few reasons, A) it is all of 115 pages long, B) It was written by one of his closest students, and was endorsed by him as accurately representing his life and beliefs, and C) it was $3.50, and I’m dutch.

I’ve been working on it fairly consistently since I got it and have just finished the Introduction.

Intro – by Robert McAffee Brown

This introduction felt a little like an introduction to Barthian theology. While Brown does a great job of giving the feel for how Barth did theology, or at that time “was doing theology” since Barth had not finished the fifth volume of his Dogmatics, he gets a little technical and redundant at points.

Just coming off The Gospel Coalition conference it was interesting to look back the introduction and see how many things Barth was criticized for are still being talked about, i.e. predestination and the doctrine of Hell. And it was interesting to see how many of his convictions are now a part of the theological framework that we work within, i.e. reading all of scripture with a “Christological concentration” (both Old and New Testaments are about Jesus).

I’m really interested to see what events shaped this man’s life and led him to hold the beliefs that he so eloquently put to words.

Posted in: Book Review, Theology