That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew: Karl Barth's Docrine of Israel


This book, combining detailed academic scholarship with a deeply felt and expressed empathy for the uncompromising theological anti-Judaism (though not anti-Semitism) of Karl Barth, is a significant and unique contribution to Barthian studies as well as to the ongoing Jewish-Christian 'dialogue' which often blurs the distinctions and outright antagonism displayed by classical Christian theology toward Judaism and the phenomenon of Jewish suffering and survival. ---Fritz A. Rothschild, Jewish Theological Seminary of America A leader in the Confessing Church, an outspoken opponent of Anti-Semitism, and, late in life, a committed supporter of the state of Israel, Karl Barth was nevertheless a firm and unflinching anti-Judaic theologian. That Jesus Was Born a Jew devotes itself to an analysis and description of these two sides of Barth's thought, from the period of the Romerbrief through the Church Dogmatics and later postwar addresses. It places Barth's thought against the backdrop of his contemporaries and the developments in German academic theology Barth at once repudiated and called his own. Though no claim is made to set out Judaic self-understanding, Barth's conception of the people of Israel is understood, in contrast, as specifically Christian: Barth's is a fully dogmatic interpretation of the Jews. Katherine Sonderegger traces the development of Barth's commitment to the integrity of Christian self-description. In the process, she explores the conservation of the Church's theological past that gives Barth's thought its anti-Judaic character and his christological concentration that makes Jesus the Jew the foundation for Christian opposition to anti-Semitism and Naziism. She analyzes Church Dogmatics as well as the second edition of Romans, focusing on Barth's exegesis of the types of prophet and pharisee; and she provides an evaluation of Barth's work, with constructive proposals for the contemporary reassessment of Judaism.

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