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Ever Against the Stream: The Politics of Karl Barth, 1906-1968

Jehle, Frank

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ISBN 10: 1620320940 / ISBN 13: 9781620320945
Published by Wipf and Stock 3/2/2012, 2012
Used Soft cover
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Paperback. New book. Previously published by Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co., 2002. 124 pages. 124 pp. Bookseller Inventory # W9781620320945

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Ever Against the Stream: The Politics of ...

Publisher: Wipf and Stock 3/2/2012

Publication Date: 2012

Binding: Soft cover

About this title


Endorsements: "Frank Jehle has accomplished the feat of writing a short, precise introduction to Karl Barth the theologian in relation to the world of politics. In Jehle we have a clear and helpful interpreter who shows, rightly, Barth swimming ever against the stream." Eberhard Busch "In this thorough study Jehle analyzes Barth's political views from the beginning of his career until the day before his death. This comprehensive approach clearly demonstrates how Barth, despite his unpredictability in the political realm, was remarkably consistent and faithful to his conviction that the justice and grace of God must inform all our political utterances and actions. Ultimately, what emerges from this fine study is a portrait of a courageous political thinker who never hesitated to challenge prevailing views and who strove to join the spiritual and the political." John Hesselink Western Theological Seminary "Ever against the Stream is an engaging narrative that chronicles Barth's involvement in the political realm, whether advocating for the workers in his congregation, speaking against National Socialism in Germany and in Switzerland, or taking a more subdued public posture toward communism. Drawing from his many speeches and letters, the book presents a nuanced and sympathetic appraisal of Barth's positions throughout his life and within the context of his theological framework. His failure at first to perceive dangers inherent in communism is balanced by his forward-looking perception of dangers within National Socialism and within the quietism of his fellow Swiss citizens during that time. He was often silenced. Barth made enemies among those in the church who wanted to turn the state into an absolute. But he called for Christians to be engaged in the world nonetheless, and he lived out such an existence. Frank Jehle's narrative is riveting, his observations carefully stated, and he responds to those who wrote Barth off as a troublemaker or out of touch. Jehle also goes to great pains to show how Barth's positions were caricatured and then rejected or taken out of context, possibly because his observations were so accurate. The little side trips into Barth's personal interactions with other key figures of his day are fascinating, enlightening, and fitting." Thomas Trapp Concordia University About the Contributor(s): Frank Jehle is chaplain and lecturer of theology at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

From the Back Cover:

While there are numerous studies of Karl Barth's theology, this isthe first book to explore the political side of Barth's work throughoutall the phases of his long life.

As Frank Jehle shows, Barth's political views are not onlyfound in his formal writings but were also made clear in his activelife. Jehle here portrays Barth as a courageous man who was deeplyconcerned about world conditions and cared about people whowere suffering. It was the question, What will happen to humanity?that led Barth at a young age to support the working class of hiscongregation, to work as a resistance fighter against National Socialism, and to openly oppose Switzerland's tendency to accommodateHilter's policy. He also supported Jews and other refugees -- aposition that quickly made him political enemies. Jehle looks athow Barth continued to draw ethical consequences out of Christianbelief and shows how, in today's political context, Barth's perspectivesstill provide astounding clarity.

Deliberately written for a broad audience, this book is a valuablecontribution to the literature on Barth.

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