This critical study of Karl Barth's Christian theological ethics discusses Barth's controversial and characteristically misunderstood ethics of divine command. The surprising relation of his 'divine command ethics' to contemporary 'narrative theology' and 'virtue ethics' and specific moral themes concerning bonds between parents and children, the nature of truth telling, and the meaning of Christian love of God and neighbor are all discussed. This book reveals Barth's richness, depth, and insight, and places his work in constructive connection with salient themes in both Catholic and Protestant ethics. Attentive to the fullness of Barth's Christological vision and to the purposes and limits of his reflections on the Christian life in pursuit of the good, William Werpehowski also advances conversations in Christian ethics about the nature of practical deliberation and decision, the orientation and dispositions that embody moral faithfulness, and the question and features of 'natural morality.'
Contents: Preface; Part I Divine Command, Narrative, and Ethics: Divine commands and philosophical dilemmas; Command and history; Narrative and ethics; Realism and discernment. Part II Virtue, Moral Practices, and Discernment: What shall parents teach their children?; In search of real children: innocence, absence and becoming a self; Love of God and the moral meaning of joy; Hiddenness, disclosure and the reality of God; Practical wisdom and integrity; Desire, reverence, and friendship; Index.
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.