Re-Figuring Theology: The Rhetoric of Karl Barth

Front Cover
SUNY Press, 1991 - Religion - 214 pages
Here is a rhetorical treatment of Karl Barth's early theology. Although scholars have long noted the rhetorical power of Barth's work, calling it volcanic and explosive, this book uses rhetoric to illuminate the peculiar nature of his prose. It displays a Barth whose prose is radically unstable and inseparable from his theological arguments.

The author connects Barth's early theology to the Expressionism of the Weimar Republic. He develops an original theory of figures of speech, relying on the philosophies of Paul Ricoeur and Hayden White, to delve more deeply into the particular configurations of Barth's writings. Nietzsche's hyperbole and Kierkegaard's irony are examined as rhetorical precedents of Barth's style. The closing chapter surveys Barth's later, realistic theology and then suggests ways in which his earlier tropes, especially the figures of excess and self-negation, can serve to enable theology to speak today.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Toward a Tropology
Metaphorof CrisisCrisis of Metaphor
Magicof the Extreme
Web of Irony
ReReading Barth Today

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1991)

Stephen H. Webb is Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wabash College.

Bibliographic information