Friday, November 5, 2010

Barth as a cultural intellectual

In the article I mentioned in my previous post Rudy Koshar states:
Barth’s cultural provenance also reflects his status as a European intellectual conversant with the important thinkers of the time. The luminaries of high bourgeois culture appear scattered across Barth’s writings, especially in the Church Dogmatics, where perhaps many readers expect not to find them because of this publication’s “churchly” character. Such eclecticism is fitting for one whose work “orders all the paths of human wisdom, philosophical and religious, around the central core of a purely theological point of view.” In the Church Dogmatics we find commentaries of varied length on Mozart (Barth’s favorite composer), Shakespeare, Spinoza, Rousseau, Goethe, Hegel, Kant, Schopenhauer, Marx, Darwin, Richard Wagner, John Stuart Mill, Max Weber, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Jung, Jaspers, and many others interwoven with often labyrinthine theological and biblical references and historical analysis of Church doctrine. Barth’s stance of engagement within distance remains evident throughout this massive referential system, which (seeing that Barth often listened to Mozart as he worked) had the character of a symphonic score rather than a theological treatise.

No comments:

Post a Comment