As part of my summer reading schedule, I'm beginning to read Karl Barth. After getting some brief exposures through some of my classes at Calvin, I've decided to take a more intentional plunge. What I'm aiming for is a basic introduction to his work. There are already plenty of posts that do a fine job of helping people to begin reading Barth: - KBarth.org : How to read Karl Barth
- Die Evangelischen Theologen: So, You Want To Read Karl Barth?
- Theology out of Bounds: How To Start Reading Karl Barth
- I Heart Barth: Why, What and Where to Begin with Barth?
I began crafting my reading strategy before reading these posts, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that my selection of readings overlapped with common suggestions. I'm lucky to have access to the Digital Karl Barth Library through Calvin (for a few more months until they delete my email =(...I hope Duke Divinity is subscribed!) and to have received some Barth books/materials from friends who were watching out for my good before I could pronounce this Swiss theologian's name correctly.
This is how I'm beginning to read Barth:
1. Karl Barth by John Webster
It's no secret that Barth is hard to read; many have said it's like trying to understand a new language. Therefore, secondary literature is crucial for easing what can be a rough start. Webster's introduction to Barth contains a good biographical sketch and overview of Barth's themes.
These are lectures that Barth delivered, without a manuscript, to many non-theology students in the ruins of a German University during the summer of 1946. Sounds interesting, right? Dogmatics in Outline is not meant to be a substitute for Barth's larger Church Dogmatics, but it does, nevertheless, provide a good summary of his thought.
Lectures that Barth delivered in American during the end of his career. An energizing book for aspiring theologians.
4. Church Dogmatics
Eventually. Deep into the wilderness.