Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics (CD) is arguably the most important product of twentieth-century theology. It is difficult to describe adequately its enduring influence on academic theology. What Barth called his opus imperfectum never came to completion, but concluded abruptly upon his death at a towering thirteen volumes and nearly 10,000 pages.
Originally published in German as Die kirchliche Dogmatik, the English translation is known for its long, winding sentences that lead the reader through a string of interconnected and circuitous thoughts. Barth’s CD is also known for its social, historical, political, ecclesial, and theological context that engages hundreds of named and unnamed interlocutors over the more than 30 years of its composition.
So how does one begin to “break” Barth (or at least break into CD)? [Read more…]