KARL BARTH - Karl Barth (1886-1968) Barth comes as close to...

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Karl Barth (1886-1968) Barth comes as close to being a modern "church-father" as any one of our age; it is difficult to imagine any figure who has influenced the thinking and direction of his times more than Barth. He, virtually single-handedly, unplugged the lights of classical liberalism; he remade traditional protestantism along lines that recaptured some of the spirit and verve which its founders felt so many years before; his influence upon Roman Catholic thought is unmistakable--easily traced through Karl Rahner, Hans Kung, Eberhardt Jungel--and certainly was one of the forces that took the Catholics to the second Vatican Council. Born in Basel, Switzerland, his roots ran deep into the Calvinistic (Reformed) Church there; both of his grandfathers, his father and his older brother were ministers of the Reformed Church. Barth recalled that his appetite for theology was first whetted at the time of his confirmation (age 16); the event posed him a challenge to know and affirm the confessions of his Church--and Barth was determined to "understand them from within." From what can be determined from his early schooling Barth had little interest in mathematics or the physical sciences; but history and drama fascinated him. He seemed to have an overtly practical bent about him; "pure research" was not of much interest, academics had to touch life. As was the custom among young European theologs (then and now), Karl Barth pursued his education at several universities; traveling to where the leading thinkers were and gleaning their insights. He began at the University of Bern, where his own father was teaching; at Bern he became immersed in the writings of Schliermacher and Kant--which came to him as a sort of theological liberation. This exposure made Barth eager to travel to Marburg to study with Wilhelm Herrmann, the leading neo-Kantian thinker of the day; but father Barth insisted that young Karl study at a more conservative school--Berlin U. was settled upon as a reasonable compromise. At Berlin Barth was able to study under one of the leading figures of his day,
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KARL BARTH - Karl Barth (1886-1968) Barth comes as close to...

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