Karl Barth's Christological Ecclesiology: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Karl Barth's Christological Ecclesiology

1st Edition

By Kimlyn J. Bender


320 pages

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Many of Barth's theological themes, such as revelation and election, have received numerous scholarly examinations, whilst Barth's doctrine of the church has been largely ignored. Yet, Barth entitled his massive systematic theological opus the Church Dogmatics, and the church was a central element of his thought from first to last. This book seeks to fill a lacuna in studies of Barth's theology, presenting the first comprehensive examination of Karl Barth's doctrine of the church in over three decades. Kimlyn Bender examines Barth's ecclesiological thought, from his early theological treatises to his massive unfinished dogmatics, in light of his interaction with both Roman Catholicism and Protestant Liberalism. A special emphasis is placed upon Barth's mature ecclesiology in the Church Dogmatics.


'Kimlyn Bender offers a lucid, well-organised and thorough account of Barth's doctrine of the church, a doctrine derived from and informed by a Christo-logic at every point… Bender has filled a significant gap in English language Barth studies and serves as a sure-footed guide who blazes a trail through tough territory and points out the stunning scenery as he goes.' Zeitschrift für Dialektische Theologie 'This well-documented and clearly presented study of the ecclesiology of Kark Barth comprises a bold attempt to revisit a topic that, for over 50 years, has been treated by a number of noted Barthian experts… The sheer skill and intensity with which Bender conducts this exposition is impressive… As an orderly and serious compendium of Barth's thought on the Christian community, this study is valuable… Bender's passion for the event of the church as Barth understood it might lead many readers to learn on their own why the avid master of Basel still generates like-minded scholars.' Theological Studies ’Bender’s work is a wonderful contribution to Barth studies and to ecclesiological reflection in general. Bender makes a strong case that future thinking on the nature and task of the church ought to go ’through and not around Barth’s doctrine of the church’ (p. 284). Certainly future work on Barth’s ecclesiology will have to be undertaken in dialogue with Bender’s elaboration and interpretation of it.’ Ecclesiology

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Part One Barth's Early Ecclesiology: Barth's early theology: battles on the left and on the right; The path to the ecclesiology of the Church Dogmatics. Part Two Barth's Mature Ecclesiology: The election of Jesus Christ: the foundation of ecclesiology; Reconciliation as the context of ecclesiology; The origin of the church as the fellowship of the spirit; The order of the church as the body of Christ; The ordination of the church as the people of God in the world; Looking back and looking ahead. Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Kimlyn J. Bender is Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Sioux Falls, USA.

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