Ethics in Crisis: Interpreting Barth's Ethics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethics in Crisis

Interpreting Barth's Ethics, 1st Edition

By David Clough


163 pages

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Paperback: 9781138269743
pub: 2017-03-31
Hardback: 9780754636304
pub: 2005-08-26
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pub: 2016-05-13
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Ethics in Crisis offers a constructive proposal for the shape of contemporary Christian ethics drawing on a new and persuasive interpretation of the ethics of Karl Barth. David Clough argues that Karl Barth’s ethical thought remained defined by the theology of crisis that he set out in his 1922 commentary on Romans, and that his ethics must therefore be understood dialectically, caught in an unresolved tension between what theology must and cannot be. Showing that this understanding of Barth is a resource for contemporary constructive accounts of Christian ethics, Clough points to a way beyond the idolatry of ethical absolutism on the one hand, and the apostasy of ethical postmodernism on the other.


'David Clough describes and evaluates the ethical thought of Karl Barth clearly, knowledgeably, and originally. He makes a formidable case that the concepts of crisis and dialectic Barth offered in the 1922 version of his Epistle to the Romans remain critical for interpreting the later Church Dogmatics, and for engaging a twenty-first century crisis in theological ethics. Clough's book displays both painstaking scholarship and constructive power. I recommend it heartily.' Gene Outka, Dwight Professor of Philosophy and Christian Ethics, Yale University 'In this book David Clough gives us both a fresh reading of the development of Barth's ethical thought from the second edition of the Römerbrief to the Church Dogmatics, and an original demonstration of the continuity between them. Against those who hanker after human self-sufficiency in ethics - whether by way of postmodernist relativism or rationalist system - Clough re-presents Barth's constant assertion of a salutary, if uncomfortable dialectic: because God does command, there is something that we may hear (and reason from); but because it is God who commands, we should never cease to listen, and to listen again. Clearly and sometimes vividly written, Ethics in Crisis will reward not only the student of Barthiana but anyone who yearns for a theological ethic that takes God seriously.' Nigel Biggar, Professor of Theology, Trinity College Dublin '… this is an excellent book that will quickly become a definite and reliable guide to Karl Barth's ethics. Not only that, it is a fine piece of constructive theology. Clough's work is no mere explication of Barth. It moves beyond Barth and does not simply offer corrections to Barth's work.' Princeton Theological Seminary '… recent addition to Ashgate's excellent Barth Studies series… David Clough's Ethics in Crisis offers both significant contribution to the interpretation of Barth's development, and a sharp and suggestive proposal for our contemporary

About the Series

Barth Studies

The work of Barth is central to the history of modern western theology and remains a major voice in contemporary constructive theology. His writings have been the subject of intensive scrutiny and re-evaluation over the past two decades, notably on the part of English-language Barth scholars who have often been at the forefront of fresh interpretation and creative appropriation of his theology. Study of Barth, both by graduate students and by established scholars, is a significant enterprise; literature on him and conferences devoted to his work abound; the Karl Barth Archive in Switzerland and the Center for Barth Studies at Princeton give institutional profile to these interests. Barth's work is also considered by many to be a significant resource for the intellectual life of the churches.

Drawing from the wide pool of Barth scholarship, and including translations of Barth's works, this series aims to function as a means by which writing on Barth, of the highest scholarly calibre, can find publication. The series builds upon and furthers the interest in Barth's work in the theological academy and the church.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General