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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter recounts the path of Barth’s life between 1921 and 1935. It first reflects on how the second edition of Barth’s commentary on Romans precipitated a widespread movement of thought called dialectical theology, which led in turn to Barth’s move from the pastorate in Switzerland to a chair in Göttingen as Professor of Reformed Theology. The chapter next explores Barth’s time as Professor of Dogmatics and New Testament Exegesis in Münster (1925–1930), at which time contact with Roman Catholic theologians became important for the development of his thought. Barth’s appointment at the University of Bonn in 1930 marks the third phase of the chapter, which considers the beginnings of Barth’s great work—Church Dogmatics—and Barth’s intensive engagement with the writings of Anselm of Canterbury. Finally, the chapter details Barth’s involvement in addressing the problems and failures of the Protestant churches in Germany following Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933, his work in helping to establish the Confessing Church, and his role in the composition of the Theological Declaration of Barmen in 1934.

Keywords: Catholicism, dialectical theology, exegesis, First World War, God, historical-critical, liberal theology, religious socialism, social democracy, theology of crisis

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