Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics

Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics

Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics

Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics


In this seminal volume, thirteen contemporary theologians revisit the theological ethics of Karl Barth as it bears on such topics as the moral significance of Jesus Christ, the Christian as ethical agent, the just war theory, the virtues and limits of democracy, and the difference between an economy of competition and possession and an economy of grace.


Daniel L. Migliore

Interest in Barth’s theology continues to grow. Its consistently high quality, often stunning originality, remarkable comprehensiveness, and strong provocations to fresh theological reflection in both church and academy assure its place among the most influential theological writings of the modern era. Best known for its singular christocentric exposition of the core doctrines of Christian faith, Barth’s theology is also notable for its contributions to the history of doctrine, to biblical exegesis, to the interface of theology and philosophy, and by no means least, to theological ethics, the topic that receives special attention in this volume. a number of the articles included here were presented at the conference “Karl Barth and Theological Ethics” held at Princeton Theological Seminary, June 22–25, 2008. Others were subsequently written by participants at the conference in response to the original presentations.

From the beginning, the project that we know as Church Dogmatics was also a project in the reconstruction of Christian ethics. in the current renaissance of Barth studies, the study of his theological ethics has an important place even if this aspect of his thought has not received as much attention as many of his doctrinal topics. That is reason enough for the present volume. One way of formulating the wider question that the volume attempts to address is: Can Barth the magisterial dogmatic theologian offer significant help to theology and church today in the area of Christian ethics, a discipline Oliver O’Donovan has succinctly defined as thinking “from truths of Christian faith to conclusions in Christian action”?

1. Oliver O’Donovan, Common Objects of Love: Moral Reflection and the Shaping of Community (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), p. 3.

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