Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Karl Barth a 'Biblical Theologian'?

For those who can distinguish clearly and sharply between systematic theology and biblical theology, you may sometimes wonder which one does Barth belong?

Recently I mentioned Barth in a conversation on theological study. My friend said that their institution teaches only 'Biblical Theology', not systematic, implying that they don't study Barth as he is a systematician. 

My friend's remark really got me thinking. I haven't been thinking about the enterprise of 'Biblical Theology' for a while. I used to like exploring the works by Brevard Childs. So is Barth a systematician and not a 'Biblical Theologian'?

The former Principal of St John's College Nottingham, Canon Christina Baxter, ventured to answer this question back in the 1980s. Her article 'Barth--A Truly Biblical Theologian' can be accessed here. Her concluding remark is: "A truly biblical theologian? Yes, insofar as it was humanly possible!"

Have you thought of that? Or Barth is just a systematician, in an imagined world where real distinction between 'Biblical Theology' and 'Systematic Theology' can be demonstrated?

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