Until the text of the Dogmatics is more widely and thoroughly read, one of the main tasks in assessing Barth will be to dispel imaginary pictures. Even yet, for example, it hardly seems to have penetrated the theological world what a decisive turn was taken by Barth in the early thirties, especially through his contact with Anselm (cf. his book on Anselm [1931] and Church Dogmatics, II, 1, 25 ff.). More recently, his emphases have been profoundly affected by his decisive rejection of the new modernism associated with Bultmann; and it is in the light of this rejection that much of his latest work is to be understood (cf. his study Rudolf Bultmann, Zollikon-Zurich, 1952, to which the page numbers in this article refer).

Bultmannism Rejected

A first point is his very strong insistence that, while occasionally mythical terms may have been borrowed, myth itself is not a genre which is found or used in the Old Testament (pp. 31 f.). What is narrated, for example, in the creation stories, is real event, though in this particular instance it is not expressed in historiographical form (cf. the full discussion in Church Dogmatics, III, 1, 41, 1). When we come to the Gospels, we have to do with a work of God in time and space, worked out in the actual life and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and credibly attested by those associated with him as apostles (pp. 32 f.). If these events have more than ordinary significance, it is not as marginal symbols but as real events (pp. 16 ff.). Hence the so-called “demythologization” demanded by Bultmann is formally an impossible enterprise. There can be no other statement of the Gospel than in the form of narration (pp. 32 f.). More basically, however, it is a theologically mistaken enterprise, ...

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