Redescribing God : the roles of scripture, tradition and reason in Karl Barth's doctrines of divine unity, constancy and eternity
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This thesis is an analysis of Karl Barth's theological method as it appears in his treatment of three divine perfections-unity, constancy, and eternity-in Church Dogmatics, II/l, chapter VI. In order to discern the method by which Barth reaches his doctrinal conclusions, the thesis examines the respective roles of Scripture, tradition and reason-the 'threefold cord'-in this portion of his Church Dogmatics. The conclusion reached in the thesis is that, within Barth's treatment of God's unity, constancy and eternity, Scripture functions as the authoritative source and basis for theological critique and construction, and tradition and reason are functionally subordinate to Scripture. That said, Barth employs a predominantly indirect way of relating Scripture and theological proposals, a way in which tradition and reason play important 'mediatory' roles. The thesis defends these claims in the following manner. Chapter 1 surveys recent scholarship relevant to the thesis and shows how this thesis will make a distinctive contribution to scholarly discussion of Barth's theology. Chapter 2 sets up the exposition of Barth's theological method that is provided in the remaining chapters by providing a 'conceptual framework'- an orderly arrangement of definitions and conceptual categories. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the main features of Barth's Doctrine of God as whole, as it appears in Church Dogmatics, with a special emphasis on the roles of Scripture, tradition and reason within those doctrines. Chapters 4-6 are an expository analysis of Barth's treatments of divine unity, constancy and eternity respectively, and form the primary basis for the claims of the thesis. Chapter 7, the conclusion, summarises the argument and makes some final observations.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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