The relation of Karl Barth's understanding of revelation to that of Søren Kierkegaard
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The purpose of this study is to consider the relation between Karl Barth's understanding and that of Søren Kierkegaard. This study defended the thesis, that even though the later Barth's position was closer to Kierkegaard than was that of the early Barth, the later Barth's position was still different from that of Kierkegaard. To show that this is the case, an attempt was made to analyse Barth's early position and his later position on revelation in their relation to Kierkegaard. Firstly, I examined the early Barth's understanding of revelation through an analysis of The Epistle of the Romans (second edition of 1922) with special reference to its relation to Kierkegaard. In this consideration, I took three salient concepts which were central to the early Barth's understanding of revelation and are relevant to Kierkegaard Moment, History and Paradox. Through the analysis of these three concepts, I showed that even though the early Barth and Kierkegaard used the same terminology, the meaning which they gave to these terms was different from one another. Accordingly, their understandings of revelation were also different from one another. I then turned my attention to the later Barth, especially after the publication of the first volume of the Church Dogmatics in 1932, for the purpose of drawing out the later Barth's understanding of revelation. In this consideration, I argued that even though the later Barth recognized the historicity and temporality of revelation and seemed to emphasize the incarnation, the historicity and the incarnation which the later Barth recognized, were different from Kierkegaard's understanding of the historicity of revelation and of the incarnation. The differences between their concepts of the historicity and temporality, made for the difference between their understandings of revelation. In the third chapter, I attempted to explore Kierkegaard's understanding of revelation. Throughout this chapter, I was especially concerned with the three characteristics, which Kierkegaard wanted to emphasize in his understanding of revelation; the paradoxicality of revelation, revelation as the absolute fact, and the historicity of revelation. I thus concluded that even though the later Barth's view of revelation was close to that of Kierkegaard, even the later Barth has a different understanding of revelation from that of Kierkegaard. At the back of their understanding of revelation there was a different thought-structure.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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