1st Edition

Karl Barth's Analogy of Beauty Its Basis and Implications for Theological Aesthetics

By Andrew Dunstan Copyright 2022
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides the first comprehensive examination of Karl Barth’s view of beauty. For over fifty years, scholars have assumed Barth recovered traditional belief in God’s beauty but refused to entertain any relationship between this and more familiar natural and artistic beauties. Hans Urs von Balthasar was the first to offer this interpretation, and his conclusion has been echoed ever since, rendering Barth’s view of beauty irrelevant to work in theological aesthetics. This volume continues the late-twentieth-century revision of Balthasar’s interpretation of Barth by arguing that this too is a significant misunderstanding of his theology. Andrew Dunstan demonstrates that, through an encounter with fatalistic forms of Reformed theology, Brunner’s charges that his dogmatics were irrelevant and medieval thought, Barth gradually developed an analogy of divine, ecclesial and worldly beauty with all the theological, christocentric and actualistic hallmarks of his previous forms of analogy. This not only yields valuable new insight into Barth’s view of analogy but also provides a much-needed foundation for a distinctively Protestant and post-Barthian approach to theological aesthetics.



    Part I: Analogia Gloriae

    1 Barth’s Concept of Analogy (1919–1968)

    2 Barth’s Concept of Natural Revelation (1919–1968)

    3 Barth’s Analogia Gloriae (1940)

    Part II: Analogia Pulchritudinis

    4 Antecedents: Barth’s Rudimentary Analogy of Theological, Ecclesial and Worldly Beauty (1919–1940)

    5 Climax: Barth’s Comprehensive Analogy of Theological, Ecclesial and Worldly Beauty in Church Dogmatics §31.3 (1940)

    6 Final Confirmation: Barth’s Continuing Analogy of Theological, Ecclesial and Worldly Beauty (1940–1968)

    Part III: Significance

    7 Implications for Contemporary Theological Aesthetics





    Andrew Dunstan (DPhil, University of Oxford) is Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Malyon Theological College, the Australian College of Theology.

    "Dunstan’s excellently researched book builds on recent Barthian scholarship to argue that Barth’s ‘analogy of faith’ implies a theological ‘analogy of beauty’. Placing Barth’s thought in its evolving contexts, this work challenges older interpretations and establishes Barth’s promise for a Protestant theological aesthetics." - Richard Viladesau, Fordham University

    "Andrew Dunstan has written an in-depth examination of Karl Barth’s contribution to theological aesthetics. Clear and carefully considered, it is an authoritative and important study on the most eminent Reformed theologian of the twentieth century." - Gesa Thiessen, Trinity College Dublin

    "According to Karl Barth, theology is the most beautiful among all sciences. The reason for this is that, beside God’s truth and justice, His pulchritude is the embodiment of God’s reality. In the very readable book of Andrew Dunstan this is showed and reflected excellently." - Eberhard Busch, University of Göttingen

    "This book brilliantly challenges conventional accounts of Barth on beauty. Dunstan shows that Barth holds to an analogical theology of beauty far more substantial than is often thought. Crucial both for Barth studies and aesthetics more widely, this is a tour de force deserving a wide readership." - Jeremy Begbie, Duke University

    "In this illuminating work, Andrew Dunstan offers a fresh understanding and appreciation of theological aesthetics in the work of Karl Barth. In a lucid study that overturns much conventional wisdom, the author compellingly traces the development in Barth’s work of an analogy of beauty, and profiles its potential value for contemporary reflection." - Paul Nimmo, University of Aberdeen

    "The author offers a truly groundbreaking account of Barth’s theology of beauty, showing how an analogy of beauty is grounded in an analogy of glory; persuasively written and thoroughly documented, this indispensable book triumphantly overturns all previous doubts about Barth’s aesthetics." - Paul Fiddes, University of Oxford