Karl Barth's understanding of the Resurrection : analysis, discussion and contrast
The thesis argues that Barth's dogmatic theology provides the appropriate model for theology and the correct context for understanding his treatment of the resurrection: many critiques fail by attacking symptoms, not cause; and the underlying cause - his dogmatic method, while wide-ranging - is affirmed here. This is done without relapsing into uncritical "Barthian fundamentalism"; indeed, many aspects of his theology of resurrection are subjected to considerable criticism here. Part One of this thesis covers Barth's earlier pilgrimage – from his "liberal" era, through his break with liberalism to his fully fledged "dialectical" theology. In this context, the resurrection is seen to move from the peripheral, via the realistic (as expression of God's power), to the epistemologically important. In Part Two, Barth's virgin birth/empty tomb parallelism is discussed and shown to lack a biblical basis. His talk of the 'forty days' of the Easter period is seen as suppressing Pauline in favour of Lucan chronology, and his idea of this time as the 'pure presence of God' is problematic. The place of the resurrection in IV/1-4 is analysed and discussed. The Klappert/Pannenberg debate on the interpretation of §59 is explored, and Klappert's account is largely rejected. Barth's architectonics are explored, and seen to be a means of distortion in his theology, inflating the relevance of revelation. And Barth's reduction of resurrection to revelation alone is seen to have deleterious effects on his anthropology, pneumatology and ethics. Finally, Barth's theology is set in contrast – first with Pannenberg, then more generally, Pannenberg's approach is shown to be suspect in the first chapter, and in the second, methodologies are differentiated: phenomenology, apologetics and merely apparent dogmatics are rejected. Barth's own consistent dogmatic method is affirmed, even if, as the recapitulation of conclusions shows, the details of his theology of resurrection can be challenged and improved.