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Title: The theological investigation into the concept of the pre-existence of Jesus Christ in the theology of Karl Barth
Author: Brown, S. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
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The aim of this thesis is to explicate Barth's doctrine of the pre-existence of Jesus Christ in the Church Dogmatics. The concept of pre-existence in general has been widely misunderstood in recent times, and has led to misunderstanding and prejudice against Barth's concept of pre-existence in particular. My aim is twofold: a) To investigate comprehensively the doctrine of the pre-existence of Jesus Christ, also referred to by Barth as the eternal Logos ensarkos, or the humanity of God; b) To demonstrate how the doctrine variously functions in Barth's Church Dogmatics. I have brought in Pannenberg as a dialogue partner to show how their different theologies have given rise to different concepts of pre-existence. I have explored the concept of pre-existence in relation to Barth's understanding of the doctrines of a) revelation, b) election, c) time and eternity, and d) reconciliation. In each of these categories I have shown how the concept of pre-existence functions, bringing in Pannenberg by way of contrast. It is my contention that Barth's concept of pre-existence refers to: a) a self-constitution of God in the second mode of God's being, as the eternal Logos ensarkos; and b) that Jesus Christ is really, actually (as opposed to ideally) spiritually present to those who lived prior to the historical instantiation of Jesus Christ. In Barth's theology the concept of pre-existence serves to: a) emphasise God's love of humanity, and the degree of which God regards humanity; b) stress that the covenant between God and humanity is an eternal convenant; c) emphasise that Jesus Christ is the electing God, as well as the elected man; d) function as a political corrective: it stresses the dignity and sanctity of human life; e) function as a theological corrective against natural theology, and theological dualism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available