The Great Passion

Front Cover
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Oct 14, 2004 - Religion - 302 pages
3 Reviews
Widely regard to be the twentieth century's greatest theologian, Karth Barth's work refocused the task of Christian theology and demonstrated its relevance to every domain of human life, from the spiritual to social to the political. It is precisely the broad sweep of Barth's theology that makes a book like "The Great Passion" necessary -- a succinct yet comprehensive introduction to Barth's entire theological program.

Of the many people who write on the life and thought of Karl Barth, Eberhard Busch is uniquely placed. A world-renowned expert on Barth's theology, he also served as Barth's personal assistant from 1965 to 1968. As Busch explains, one cannot fully understand Barth the theologian without also understanding Barth the man. In this book he weaves doctrine and biography into a superb presentation of Barth's complete work.

Busch purpose in this introduction is to guide readers through the main themes of Barth's monumental "Church Dogmatics" against the horizon of our modern times and problems. In ten sections Busch clearly explains Barth's views on all of the major subject areas of systematic theology: the nature of revelation, Israel and christology, the Trinity and the doctrine of predestination, the problem of religion, gospel and law, creation, salvation, the Holy Spirit, eccclesiology, and eschatology.

A distinctive feature of the book is the way Busch lets Barth speak for himself, often through surprising quotations. Busch also shows how Barth's writing should be read as a dialogue, constantly and consciously engaging other voices past and present, both in and outside of the church. Most important of all, however, is the way the book demonstrates that Barth'sthought is not only still accessible today but also remarkably helpful.

How good it is that the author of the rich Karl Barth biography has drawn anew on his intimate acquaintance with the person and work of Barth to introduce the theology of the "Church Dogmatics." In this study we are engaged by a theology that, as if stubbornly, asked and still asks different questions, addressed and still addresses things other than what in Barth's own time and also now in ours claims to be at the center of the science of theology. Eberhard Busch has written a passionate, wonderfully readable book that portrays how "thinking" about the friendliness of God for humanity' can itself becomes a great passion.

 

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User Review  - Rev. John D. White - Christianbook.com

Written by one of Karl Barth's last students/ assistants, Busch shows that he has learned much at the feet of his teacher. Busch interprets Barth and his theology beautifully. This is probably one of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - socialtrinity - LibraryThing

The best introduction and survey of Barth's theology and the Church Dogmatics, period. Read full review

Contents

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Page 7 - Barth is even better than his books. There is an openness, a willingness to listen to relevant criticism, and at the same time such an intensity of concentration on and impetus pressing for the subject which can be discussed proudly or with modesty, dogmatically or with tentativeness, and it is certainly not meant primarily to serve his own...
Page 13 - ... a peculiarly beautiful science. Indeed, we can confidently say that it is the most beautiful of all the sciences. To find the sciences distasteful is the mark of the Philistine. It is an extreme form of Philistinism to find, or to be able to find, theology distasteful. The theologian who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all. Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of speaking are intolerable in this science.

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About the author (2004)

Eberhard Busch is professor emeritus of Reformed theology at the University of Gottingen, Germany. A onetime student of and personal assistant to Karl Barth, he is also the son of one of the Barmen Declaration's original signers. His other books include Drawn to Freedom: Christian Faith Today in Conversation with the Heidelberg Catechism and The Great Passion: An Introduction to Karl Barth's Theology.

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