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Title: Ethics from above or below : a study of the ethics of Karl Barth with special reference to his doctrine of revelation and theological ordering of gospel and law
Author: Vincent, E. C.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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The theology and ethics of Karl Barth have, over many decades, proven to be provocative. Barth's dialectical methodology in approaching questions of theology emphasized the gap that exists between a holy God and a fallen humanity. However, Barth's Christology bridges the gap between a transcendent and imminent God. In this work, the author seeks to examine the ethics of Karl Barth, with special reference to his doctrine of revelation and theological ordering of gospel and law. This thesis intends to discuss the link between Barth's theology and ethics; a link we believe was established as early as 1924 with the anhypostasis-enhypostasis Christological formula. By establishing a bridge between the 'wholly otherness' of God through the anhypostasis-enhypostasis formula and therefore a fully divine-fully human Christ, Barth found a means by which to bring God into history, and thus into the affairs of humanity, including ethics. Because Barth's doctrine of revelation elucidates the God who is gracious from eternity, Barth re-defines the inversion of law and gospel: gospel and law for Barth, symbolizes the YES of God to humanity - a YES that will impact Barth's entire approach to ethics. As all of humanity is under the realm of redemption, so too, is ethics. This placing of ethics within the sphere of redemption creates problems for Barth such as absolutism and subjectivism. Reinhold Niebuhr provides a helpful launching point for our own critique of the Barthian ethic, as seen through its response to communism in Hungary in the 1950s. This work will, therefore, not only examine the development of Barth's doctrine of revelation and ordering of gospel and law, but will also discuss the implications of these two subjects for Barth's ethics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available