BARTH, KARL° (1886–1968), Swiss Protestant theologian. From 1922, he served as professor of theology in various German universities. With the Nazi rise to power in Germany and the consequent split in German Protestantism, Barth helped to found the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche) which opposed Hitler and the National-Socialist ideology as incompatible with Christian commitment to the teaching and kingship of Jesus. In 1934, he drafted the theological declaration of Barmen, whereby the German Lutherans and Reformed united to define and defend their position against the totalitarian claims of the state. Expelled from Germany in 1935, he returned to his native Basle, where he was appointed professor of dogmatics. His principal theological work, the monumental Kirchliche Dogmatik, which remained incomplete at his death, was published between 1932–53. While Barth took a courageous stand against antisemitism, seeing in hatred and persecution of the Jews an attack on the very foundations of the Christian message, his work evinces no understanding of actual Judaism. Throughout Barth's writings Judaism appears as a theoretical construction, a kind of figment of theological imagination, whose purpose it is to serve as a foil to the message of the gospel. While not hostile in its intention, Barth's representation of Judaism is a complete caricature and falsification of Jewish reality. According to Barth, Israel is God's Chosen People and in spite of its obstinacy in assimilating to other peoples, the Divine election remains valid. Since the crucifixion of Jesus, there simply cannot be any normal existence for the Jewish people, for the Jew represents man as such, sinner, called by God's grace and rejecting this grace. In this exemplary role of man, the Jew necessarily irritates the nations of the world by acting as a kind of mirror in which the nations see their sinful humanity reflected. The Nazis sought to destroy the Jews, the people of Jesus, in order to liberate themselves from the rule of God and to break, as it were, the mirror in which fallen man sees himself reflected. Beside his numerous theological, literary, and political writings, Barth also wrote some works on the church in the Third Reich, and on the existence of Christians in the countries under communist rule. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Pauck, Karl Barth (Eng., 1931); Taubes, in: JR, 34 (1954), 14, 231–43; R. Niebuhr, Essays in Applied Christianity (1959); F.W. Marquardt, Die Entdeckung des Judentums fuer die christliche TheologieIsrael im Denken Karl Barths (1967).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Barth,Karl — Barth (bärt, bärth), Karl. 1886 1968. Swiss Protestant theologian who advocated a return to the principles of the Reformation and the teachings of the Bible. His published works include Church Dogmatics (1932).   Barthʹi·an adj. * * * …   Universalium

  • Barth, Karl — (1886 1968)    German Protestant theologian    Karl Barth, one of the most important Protestant theologians of the 20th century, was the leading proponent of Neo Orthodoxy, a conservative, biblically oriented theology that became prominent after… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Barth, Karl — born May 10, 1886, Basel, Switz. died Dec. 9/10, 1968, Basel Swiss theologian. He studied at the Universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Marburg, and in 1911–21 he was a pastor at Safenwil, Switz. The tragedy of World War I made him question the… …   Universalium

  • Barth, Karl — (1886–1968)    Theologian.    Barth was born in Basle and was educated in the nineteenth century liberal theological tradition. After the carnage of the First World War, he produced his ground breaking Commentary to the Epistle to the Romans.… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Barth, Karl — (1886 1968)    theologian; his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1919) led fellow theologians to compare him with Martin Luther (Pope Pius XII deemed him the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas). Born in Basel to a professor of church …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Barth, Karl — (1886 1968)    Barth was not a Christian philoso pher but a Christian theologian. Indeed, he rejected any form of philosophy that he thought exalted itself against God s self revelation. The acme of this was his famous review of Emil Brunner s… …   Christian Philosophy

  • BARTH, Karl — (1886 1968)    he began as a MINISTER at Geneva (1909 1911) and was for ten years (1911 1921) Pastor at Safenwil and it was here under the shadow of the war of 1914 1918, in direct relation to his pastoral responsibility, he was led to a radical… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Barth, Karl — (1886–1968) Probably the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th cent. Born in Switzerland, Barth became internationally known for publishing a commentary in 1919 on Paul s epistle to the Romans; brilliantly translated into English by the… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Barth, Karl — (1886–1968) Protestant theologian, and professor at Bonn and Basel. His doctrines include the denial of the possibility of attaining any knowledge of God by the use of reason (i.e. denial of natural theology ), and renewed stress on the… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Barth, Karl — ► (1886 1968) Teólogo calvinista suizo. Sus obras principales son: Carta a los romanos (1919) y Dogmática eclesiástica (1930). * * * (10 may. 1886, Basilea, Suiza–9/10 dic. 1968, Basilea). Teólogo suizo. Estudió en las universidades de Berlín,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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