- Copyright page
- List of Abbreviations
- List of Contributors
- The Tasks of Theology
- Revelation and Scripture
- Jesus Christ
- The Spirit
- Sin and Evil
- Human Being
- Christian Life
- Justification, Sanctification, Vocation
- Barth and the Racial Imaginary
- Barth and Modern Moral Philosophy
- Barth and Gender
- Barth and Public Life
- Barth and Hermeneutics
- Barth and Preaching
- Barth and Environmental Theology
- Barth and Culture
- Barth and Judaism
- Barth, Religion, and the Religions
- Barth and Contemporary Protestant Theology
- Barth and Roman Catholic Theology
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter considers the meaning, spirit, and normative direction of Christian ‘public life’ in the theology and ethics of Karl Barth. Barth viewed the notion of public life quite expansively without losing sight of an area of human existence that one might reasonably call ‘private’. The spirit of Christian public life for him crucially includes both a Christocentric imagination and a secular sensibility. Additionally, it involves the responsive virtues of hope, humility, courage, and merciful solidarity with one’s fellow human creatures. I approach the question of the normative direction or directions basic to Christian public existence by reflecting on Barth’s specific treatment of Jesus Christ’s call to discipleship along with his analysis of ‘the lordless powers’ in his unfinished ethics of reconciliation.
William Werpehowski holds the Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt L.C.H.S. Chair in Catholic Theology at Georgetown University. He is the author of American Protestant Ethics and the Legacy of H. Richard Niebuhr (2002) and Karl Barth and Christian Ethics: Living in Truth (2014). He also co-edited, with Gilbert Meilaender, the Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics (2005). A former president of the Society of Christian Ethics, Werpehowski worked at Villanova University for over three decades and directed its Center for Peace and Justice Education from 1999 to 2010.
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