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Showing posts from November, 2010

Barth, Zizek, and Milbank walk into a bar...

The first paper of week 3 of the Karl Barth Blog Conference has been posted over here. It is by Paul Dafydd Jones, assistant professor of theology at the University of Virginia, USA, and a notable Barth scholar. His PhD is published as The Humanity of Christ: Christology in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. London: T&T Clark, 2008. The paper is entitled,



On the Monstrosity of Christ:
Karl Barth in Conversation with Slavoj Žižek & John Milbank










McKenny on Barth (2): Answering a primordial ethical question

I'm continuing my reading of Gerald McKenny's The Analogy of Grace: Karl Barth's Moral Theology (2010), and as I do I continue to be impressed by the quality of this book. I said in my first post that the fact that McKenny is not an avowed Barthian is refreshing - it also adds a particular depth to this study of the central theme of Barth's moral theology that I suspect would not be so noticeable elsewhere. This depth comes from the sense of wrestling with Barth that McKenny's constant and penetrating questioning of the 'old man of Basel' suggests, and the even handedness with which McKenny deals with Barth's critics. One presumes McKenny is an evangelical of sorts (he took his BA at Wheaton, Illinois, USA), but the engagement with Barth's theological concerns and knowledge of the Barth-corpus here far outranks anything offered in recent evaneglical publications on Barth (most especially, e.g., Gibson and Strange (eds) Engaging with Barth (2008)). M…

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Barth on defining the authority of scripture, and issues in the Anglican communion

Barth is notorious, particularly amongst evangelical scholars, for his view of the authority of scripture. He is right, I think, to argue that scripture's 'authority' is relative to the authority of Christ. This is precisely why his threefold definition of the Word does not privilege scripture, but acknowledges its principal witness to the 'wordiness' of Jesus (John 1 - a passage of which Barth was very fond). Where I think his approach to scripture becomes more complicated, and difficult to understand, is in passages relating to moral authority, such as this one:
All biblical imperatives - and we do not say this to impugn the authority of the Bible but to define it - are addressed to others, and not to us, and they are addressed to others who differ greatly among themselves, to the people of Israel in different situations, to the disciples of Jesus, to the first Christian churches of Jews and Gentiles. Their concreteness is that of a specific then and there...This …

Gender-based violence: a UN statement

The following is a statement sent out today from the Anglican Observer at the UN, Ms Helen Grace Wangusa, at the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence:
From 25 November to 10 December every year, the United Nations is joined by the international community in observing the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.The 16 days fall between two important international days namely, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and International Human Rights Day (10 December). These 16 days are set aside as a campaign period to emphasize that all forms of violence against women —whether at local, national, regional and international level[1]— is a violation of human rights.
For 2010 the theme of the UN-led campaign is “Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence against Women”. Militarism has been defined as an ideology that creates a culture of fear and supports the use …

David Clough on Barth

For those who are interested, here is an interview with Professor David Clough from earlier this year on the subject of Barth's theological development. It has recently made its way online...alas, the interviewer (me!) has been edited out. The interview was for a new DVD Interactive Multimedia Timeline created  by Rev. Dr Tim Hull at St John's College Nottingham. Several high quality scholars agreed to be interviewed, including Dr Karen Kilby, Dr Ben Fulford, Professor Antony Thiselton, Professor David Fergusson, and several others forthcoming.

David Clough is Professor of Theological Ethics at Chester University, UK, and wrote his doctoral thesis on the interpretation of Barth's ethics. It was published in 2005 as, Ethics in Crisis: Interpreting Barth's Ethics (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005).

Gerald McKenny on Barth

I haven't much time to say anything substantial on this (I will do in coming days) but I have recently been reading and re-reading this excellent new book on Barth's moral theology. McKenny is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at the University of Notre Dame. The book is thoroughly engaging and hugely accessible for those wanting to get a grip on the contraversial area of Barth's ethics, and the point he advances - that the analogy of grace is central to Barth's theological ethic - is an intesresting one. What I particularly enjoyed is that McKenny is not an avowed Barthian, but an interested reader who is in some places indebted to Barth and in others not at all. If your library has a copy then I'd say find a quiet afternoon and read it, even if you're not interested in Barth's ethics you will find the engagement between McKenny's keenly trained ethics mind and Barth's ethics-in-the-genre-of-dogmatics hugely rewarding.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog!  I've been toying with blogging for a little while now and have finally, with a little bit of encouragement from my friend Jenny, gotten round to it. I currently divide my time between reading, thinking, and writing a PhD (on Karl Barth's account of human responsibility, since you ask :-)) and my position as a trainee Anglican priest in Nottingham, UK. I'm interested  in issues in theology and ethics, as well as church and culture, and decided I would blog some thoughts and see how the conversation goes.

The name comes from the German for 'theological reflection' but I used it here because I particularly like the theological nuance of 'Nachdenken' which (as Barth points out) literally means 'thinking after', in this case 'thinking after God' - something that all theological reflection must do if it's to bear witness to the priority of God's grace. Anyway, this is all a bit of an experiement for me, so, welcome...a…