An Explorer's Guide to Karl Barth
Anyone exploring a new territory knows the benefit of an experienced guide. A guide can make the difference between tiresome drudgery and a life-changing adventure. This is as true for exploring new thinkers and books as it is for places.
If ever a theologian required a guide, it would be Karl Barth. His many writings have secured his place as the most significant theologian of the twentieth century. The massive Church Dogmatics alone spans over eight thousand pages and six million words. David Guretzki has been reading and teaching Barth for decades, and he has gathered numerous hints and notes along the way for how best to explore the writings of the Swiss theologian.
Inside, you will find:
Whether you are a first-time reader or a seasoned student, An Explorer's Guide to Karl Barth will give you the tools and tips to get the most out of your experience. Enjoy the journey!
Books in the Explorer's Guide series are accessible guidebooks for those studying the great Christian texts and theologians from church history, helping readers explore the context in which these texts were written and navigate the rich yet complex terrain of Christian theology.
"The prospect of reading Karl Barth's theology can be intimidating for new and experienced theologians alike. The historical distance between Barth's time and our own, the complexity of his thought, the ongoing scholarly debates about his work, and the sheer number of pages Barth produced can make it difficult to know where and how to begin. That's where this book comes in. David Guretzki has spent years helping students explore Barth's theology, and he has distilled the wisdom he has gained during these years into these pages. The result is an accessible and generous guide to Barth's theology that reduces the intimidation factor, answers common questions, and makes the task of reading Barth fun. I recommend this book for professors, students, pastors, and anyone else interested in reading Barth."
"Beginning readers of Karl Barth will not find a better, more reliable, more accessible introduction to his theology than David Guretzki's An Explorer's Guide to Karl Barth. Guretzki knows Barth's theology so well that he can explain it without using a lot of technical jargon. The idea of including a list of Barth-related FAQ is a stroke of genius. I will certainly assign this book to my own students."
"Barth's Church Dogmatics is galactic in scope and grandeur: too vast to take in merely with the naked eye. As with the night sky, it requires the use of a telescope, where vast vistas are brought close. For a second one catches a glimpse of the whole in the part, only to leave the telescope behind, gaze up at the night sky, and again be reminded of the depth and grandeur of the whole—all the while holding on to the partial yet real insights provided by the telescope. Barth's theology is a universe and Guretzki has given us a glimpse through the telescope of his book of key constellations within Barth's cosmos, helping us gain an apprehension and understanding of the whole. This is a brilliant little book that will prove to be a useful tool for all those wanting to study Barth and his theology, especially those who are gazing upon his work for the first time."
"This is a concise, lighthearted, judicious, and well-written introduction to Karl Barth's life and thought. Guretzki is a winsome and reliable guide for new explorers of Barth's work."
"One of the biggest challenges to studying the work of Karl Barth with genuine comprehension is simply getting started and moving in the right direction. In this volume, David Guretzki provides an ideal place for readers to begin, based on years of introducing his students to Barth's writings and theological ideas. A most welcome resource for those embarking on the journey of reading Barth as well as those seeking to teach them."
"In this introductory guide to Karl Barth's life and thought, David Guretzki reliably acquaints readers in a welcoming fashion with many important themes in the theology of Karl Barth. Most notably, he helpfully points readers to Barth's own spiritually captivating analysis as one of the leading biblical and truly Christocentric theologians to appear since Augustine, Athanasius, or Thomas Aquinas. Anyone reading this book will see, with Guretzki, why so many serious Christian theologians today believe that 'one cannot claim to be engaged in the study of Christian theology without in some way engaging or becoming at least familiar with Karl Barth.'"
"For the interested but uninitiated reader, accessing Barth's theology is no easy task. Standard introductions and surveys of his theology remain accessible only to those generally familiar with it. The need for a more easily accessible entry into reading Barth has been longstanding. Guretzki's book satisfies this need. Not only is it concise, well written, and very balanced, it also points readers in the right directions in terms of further primary and secondary sources. This book is well worth acquiring!"
"Guretzki's work offers a useful companion to an introduction to Karl Barth and his magnum opus."
"Guretzki achieves his goal of helping people develop an interest, read more Barth and ultimately, as was Barth's intent, to read the Bible more fully. A welcome and needed book."
Part I: Getting to Know Karl Barth
1. Why Karl Barth?
2. Karl Barth: Who Was He?
3. Frequently Asked Questions About Karl Barth
4. Glossary of Concepts and People
5. A Theological Pilgrimage: A Ten-Stop Pre-CD Tour of Barth's Theology
Part II: Exploring the Church Dogmatics
6. A Primer on Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics
7. A User's Guide to the Church Dogmatics
8. A Guided Tour of the Church Dogmatics
9. For Further Exploration
About the Author