Re-Figuring Theology: The Rhetoric of Karl Barth

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SUNY Press, Jul 3, 1991 - Religion - 214 pages
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Here is a rhetorical treatment of Karl Barth’s early theology. Although scholars have long noted the rhetorical power of Barth’s work, calling it volcanic and explosive, this book uses rhetoric to illuminate the peculiar nature of his prose. It displays a Barth whose prose is radically unstable and inseparable from his theological arguments.

The author connects Barth’s early theology to the Expressionism of the Weimar Republic. He develops an original theory of figures of speech, relying on the philosophies of Paul Ricoeur and Hayden White, to delve more deeply into the particular configurations of Barth’s writings. Nietzsche’s hyperbole and Kierkegaard’s irony are examined as rhetorical precedents of Barth‘s style. The closing chapter surveys Barth’s later, realistic theology and then suggests ways in which his earlier tropes, especially the figures of excess and self-negation, can serve to enable theology to speak today.
  

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Contents

READING KARL BARTH
1
READINGS OF KARL BARTH
4
BARTH AND EXPRESSIONISM
8
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE EXPRESSIONIST ANALOGY
14
TOWARD A TROPOLOGY
19
MAX BLACK ON METAPHOR
23
PAUL RICOEUR AND LANGUAGE
26
RICOEUR AND METAPHOR
30
NIETZSCHE AS EXAGGERATOR
91
A NECESSARY EXCESS
98
AN OTHER OTHERNESS
100
A CHURCH DESTROYED
103
THE LIMITS OF EXTREMITY
111
WEB OF IRONY
117
THE IRONOLOGY OF KIERKEGAARD
124
THE IRONY OF THEOLOGY
132

METAPHOR OF CRISISCRISIS OF METAPHOR
47
THE ORIGIN OF CRISIS
53
THE SUPPORTING CAST
62
THE INDIRECTION OF THEOLOGY
67
THE CRISIS DEFINED?
70
THE CRISIS OF HISTORY AND THE HISTORY OF CRISIS
73
THE CRISIS OF CRISIS
78
MAGIC OF THE EXTREME
83
AN IRONIC GOD
137
AN UNSTABLE CORRECTIVE
142
RETREAT AND RECONSTRUCTION REREADING BARTH TODAY
149
ANOTHER OTHER
167
TOWARD A RECONSTRUCTION
174
NOTES
179
INDEX OF NAMES
213
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About the author (1991)

Stephen H. Webb is Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wabash College.

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