Voice Of Barth

The Existentialist and God, by Arthur C. Cochrane. Westminster, Philadelphia. $3.00.

Mr. Cochrane, a Canadian, did his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto and took his theological training at Knox College, Toronto. He received his Ph. D. from Edinburgh in 1937 and did further graduate work in Germany. Since 1948 he has occupied the Chair of Systematic Theology in the Seminary of the University of Dubuque, Iowa. The work here reviewed contains the Robert Foundation Lectures delivered at Presbyterian College, Montreal, during the fall semester of 1954. The lectures consist of an analysis of the concept of being in the thought of Kierkegaard, Jaspers, Heidegger, Sartre, Tillich, Gilson and Barth, from the standpoint of Christian doctrine of the being of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

The author’s thesis sets forth that existentialism is a serious quest for being. It is fundamentally ontology (though more than that) with the color of theology. This ontology rests on the awareness that our existence is founded upon something which transcends it. It understands man’s being as movement, as action in relation to another than itself, rather than as being grounded in itself.

As for Kierkegaard, the fundamental principle of his thought is the absolute qualitative distinction between time and eternity, God and man. Man is a particular existing being, but God is eternal. According to Cochrane, Kierkegaard did not intend by this formulation to outline a new philosophy of existence, but rather to drive home to his contemporaries what it means to exist before God. For Kierkegaard the only legitimate question in connection with pure being is that of the relationship which I, the subjective, existing thinker, sustain ...

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