With this week we begin a two week study of the 20th Century's premier theologian, Karl Barth [1886-1967]. No less than Pope Pius XII considered him the great theologian since Aquinas. No mean praise for a Swiss [Reformed] Protestant! In an introductory note such as this, it is impossible to convey the scope of his theological project (some thirteen hefty volumes of The Church Dogmatics --- unfinished!), his significance for the modern ecumenical moment, and his continuing influence on generations of theologians.

Briefly (and very simplistically) Karl Barth effected something of a Copernican revolution in reaction to the prevalent liberal theology, Catholic as well as Protestant. Instead of beginning with either human experience ("from below") or imposed church propositions ("from below") Barth grounds his explication of the Word of God --- on the faith established in us by Word of God, Jesus Christ. Scripture for Barth is not a collection of propositions but a living narrative which addresses us, determines us, and directs us.

I am introducing you to Barth in somewhat an oblique way by having you read Christ and Adam. It is a small book and deceptively straightforward. It is an exegesis of Romans 13, offered by Barth late in his career. (For those of you still puzzled by what I've meant by exegesis, you're about to find out!) Paul's Epistle to the Romans had been Barth's epicenter of theology since 1918. Here he returns to it, especially Chapter 5, for a final time.

To prepare you for your essay this week (you're only be assigned one), let me roughly summarize (characterize) an underlying motif since the beginning of this course: Once upon a time Adam and Eve fell, lost the image of God, and, then centuries later, Jesus came to restore that image by sprinkling something like magic fairy dust which we call grace. Barth maintains that Paul is putting forth a counter motif, forcing us to rethink everything we've assumed.

Or to put it as your essay prompt: Explain how Barth's reading of Romans 5n puts Christian anthropology on a very different foundation.

A suggestion how to proceed. Before you even begin Christ and Adam, re-read Romans 1-6. (You've read it before early in this course.) Review how you first understood your passage and/or how it's been explained to you in countless homilies. Then and only then begin to read our text with you bible close at hand.

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Explain how Barth’s reading of Romans 5 puts Christian Anthropology on a very different foundation

This paper attempts to explain how Barth’s reading of Romans 1-6 puts Christian Anthropology on a very different foundation. Hence, the paper first summarizes the teachings that the scripture presents (based on how the majority understands it) and then focuses on what Karl Barth wants people to believe. Consequently, the paper highlights the implications for Christian Anthropology. This paper takes the standpoint that Barth influences Christians to shift their human subjective view to one that acknowledges that man is secondary to Jesus Christ and so sin is subordinate to grace. Therefore, Jesus is the secret truth of human nature and not Adam.

Reading Romans 5: 1-6
Romans 5: 1-6 is about peace and hope. According to the scripture, human beings, justified through faith, have peace with God solely because of Jesus Christ. Christ has provided an effective route through which people access God’s...
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