Academic journal article Theological Studies

Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic, 1932-1933: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic, 1932-1933: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich

Article excerpt

Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic, 1932-1933: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich. By Angela Dienhart Hancock. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. xvi + 356. $42.

Hancock's compelling analysis and retrieval of artifacts remaining from Karl Barth's 1932-1933 preaching classroom at Bonn proves integral not only to reassessing the importance of Barth's influence for practical theology, but also for acknowledging the classroom itself as a place of political resistance against the Third Reich and its increasing power. Not only does H. cogently argue against prior interpretations of Barth's homiletics as simply an abstract, universal, "neoorthodox" caricature, but she also demonstrates the degree to which Barth's "Sermon Exercises" contextualize the preacher's particular witness within a given community by using a dialectical method that involves transcendent critique. This method also has realizable implications for hearers today. H. offers a rich reinterpretation of Barth's early approach to homiletics in Germany that insists on the "Godness of God" by unsettling the recipient while affirming human agency in the preacher's call to prophetic witness in which theology is political by definition.

H. opens by describing Barth's overarching theological themes in juxtaposition to the Nazi influences circling within the political, ecclesial, and academic spheres during the Weimar period (chaps. …

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