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Karl Barth's social philosophy 1918-1933

Holmes, Peter John (2001) Karl Barth's social philosophy 1918-1933. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis is a contribution to the contemporary reassessment of Karl Barth's social philosophy. A close reading of the English translation of the text of a series of posthumously published lectures on ethics which Barth gave in the universities of Münster and Bonn between 1929 and 1933 is the basis of the work. Previous literature includes no discussion of the lectures. The thesis argues that the lectures show the foundation of Barth's thinking both of theology as a science and of ethics as a part of dogmatics, and that his subsequent work developed these ideas. Barth's intellectual debt to Hegel is recognised by showing that he returns to the fundamental theological questions of the relationship between faith and reason, and truth and method in the form in which Hegel discussed them at the end of the nineteenth century. The thesis acknowledges the influence of Barth's helper, Charlotte von Kirschbaum, and contrary to other opinions claims that the impact of Wilhelm Herrmann's thinking on Barth remained until 1933. Although principally about material from the period 1918 to 1933, later work by Barth is included in the study to give evidence for the proposals that his ethical thinking helped shape his dogmatics, and that his later ethics show development, not stages and breaks. A discussion of criticisms of his ethics highlights the problem of choosing a method of enquiry that is appropriate to the object studied. A dialogue with two other ethical projects helps focus attention on his insistence on a proper foundation for Christian social ethics. The thesis argues that Barth's work is a theological ethic, because his social philosophy gives a method for asking appropriate questions and creates a way of considering these questions from a Christian perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Newlands, Revd Prof George
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-1294
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:37
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1294

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