Karl Barth

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Karl Barth on a postage stamp of the Deutsche Bundespost (1986)

Karl Barth (born May 10, 1886 in Basel ; † December 10, 1968 in Basel ) was a Swiss Protestant Reformed theologian . From 1911 he became involved as a radical democratic socialist . From 1914 he broke with the German liberal theology of his teachers who supported the First World War . With his commentaries on the Romans (1919/1922) he founded dialectical theology . In 1934 he largely wrote the Barmen Theological Declaration , helped found the Confessing Church and, from 1938 onwards, called on all Christians to also armed resistance against National Socialism .

After 1945 he campaigned strongly for reconciliation with the Germans, ecumenism and comprehensive church reform. In 1947 he co-wrote the Darmstadt word for this. From 1950 he fought against German rearmament . From 1957 he called for cross-bloc resistance against nuclear weapons of mass destruction . During the Cold War , he continually contradicted basic anti-communism .

From 1932 to 1967 Barth's main work, Die Kirchliche Dogmatik (KD), appeared in 13 partial volumes (unfinished). To this day, the KD provides essential impetus for many Protestant churches and theological debates. In Protestantism, Barth is often referred to and historicized as the " Church Father of the 20th Century", but he refused to do so.



Karl Barth was the eldest son of Fritz Barth and Anna Katharina Barth, née Sartorius. Several theologians were among their ancestors, including the reformer Heinrich Bullinger . Fritz Barth was a conservative theology professor who affirmed the historical-critical method of interpreting the Bible and conveyed it to pastors and laypeople. The son later named him and his great-grandfather Johannes Burckhardt as particularly formative influences. Karl's older sister Katharina died in 1899 at the age of six, his younger sister Gertrud became a lawyer and married a pastor. His brother Peter became a pastor, his second brother Heinrich a philosophy professor. A cousin was the later painter Theodor Barth .

The family moved from Basel to Bern in 1889 , where Fritz Barth began teaching at the university and was given a full professorship in 1895. Karl received a humanistic education at the Free Gymnasium in Bern . His main interest was history. In 1900 he founded a school association, in 1902 he joined a school association and learned public speaking there. At school he was considered a dreamer and troublemaker. Already in the confirmation class he got to know the proofs of God of Thomas Aquinas , the doctrine of verbal inspiration and criticism of it. In 1902, when he was confirmed, he decided to study theology to learn more about what he had learned. In 1904 he passed his Matura with good . Although he had learned shooting and basic military terms in the Bern Cadet Corps, he was exempted from military service in 1905 due to myopia.


From 1904 on, Barth studied Protestant theology, five semesters at the University of Bern and one semester each at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin , the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen and the Philipps University in Marburg . His teachers in Bern represented Friedrich Schleiermacher's theology of consciousness and the historical criticism of Julius Wellhausen and Ferdinand Christian Baur . Barth dealt intensively with the synoptic problem , the authentic version of the Our Father, and was enthusiastic about Immanuel Kant's critique of practical reason . Like his father, he became a member of the non-beating frat Zofingia . In 1906 he warned their Bern section: Social democracy was the result of an increasing rift between capital and labor, rich and poor. The social question to resolve is a central human task was to contribute to the each individual's responsibility before God and man. The Zofingia must take in destitute students, which is more important than expensive parties for the privileged. Barth's proposal was rejected, but in 1907 he was elected President of the Bernese Zofingia.

In Berlin he studied the Old Testament in 1906/07 with Hermann Gunkel , the New Testament (NT) with the then leading liberal theologian Adolf von Harnack and dogmatics with the Kantian Julius Kaftan . Back in Bern, he had his first great love affair with Rösy Münger in 1907. At the insistence of his father, Barth moved away from her to Tübingen for the winter semester, but did not finally part with her until 1910. In Tübingen he wrote a thesis on church history on the idea of ​​the Decensus Christi ad inferos . He received the grade Good , but concluded that the purely historical-critical work did not fulfill him. During breaks in work he visited the religious socialist Christoph Blumhardt in Bad Boll . In 1908 he studied with Wilhelm Herrmann in Marburg, who with Kant represented the general possibility of knowledge of the morally good, but against Kant that only the Christian religion enables this good to be realized. Like Herrmann, Barth considered Schleiermacher's speeches on religion to be the most important text after the NT. Barth later judged Herrmann's “Christ-centered impetus” to be decisive: the Christian religion is not about general considerations, but rather that through Jesus, who is historically experienced as an ethical personality, “God himself enters into contact with us”.

After a four-week vicariate in the Bernese Jura , Barth got a position in Marburg as assistant editor for the journal Die Christliche Welt published by Martin Rade . He summarized incoming articles and corrected them for the print version. Later he was allowed to write his own reviews. He was also able to attend university courses. As a convinced neo-Kantian, he gained an overview of the liberal theology of the time. In the essay Modern Theology and Imperial Divine Work of 1909 , he named historical relativism and religious individualism as their basic convictions, which he himself carried in his “school bag” : There is no generally valid revelation and no generally valid ethical norms. Each individual answers for himself where he has found truth, and can only speak “of the strictly individually experienced and tangible religion”. The church tradition cannot relieve anyone of this personal responsibility. Two practical theologians criticized that Barth lacked a reference to Christ and that he argued too arbitrarily. Barth's father disapproved of its first publication as premature and advised against an answer. Nevertheless, Rade printed Barth's replica.

Vicariate and parish office

From September 1909 to June 1911, Barth served as assistant preacher in the German Reformed community in Geneva . He urged his parishioners to be independent, active, and first of all to attend church services and emphasized the “inner life of Jesus” in his mediation through people and culture as the basis of faith. In this sense, he wanted to wake up the pastoral conference of German-speaking pastors with a lecture on Christian Faith and History , in whose self-satisfied, “terribly pious environment” he felt a stranger. In the lecture he also criticized Ernst Troeltsch for placing too much emphasis on the “moment of knowledge of piety”. For the conference after that he was dismissed as a troublemaker.

Because Johannes Calvin had already preached in his chapel , he read his main work Institutio Christianae Religionis for the first time . Through constant new confirmation and adult courses, he learned to convey church and theological history in a generally understandable way, and discovered the gaps in his knowledge. In order to study the Reformers thoroughly, he abandoned the plan to do a doctorate on Schleiermacher's understanding of prayer with Wilhelm Herrmann.

In 1911 he became engaged to his former confirmation student Nelly Hoffmann (1893-1976), whom he married in 1913. She was a gifted violinist and gave up studying music for her marriage to Barth. The couple had five children: Franziska, Markus , Christoph , Matthias and Hans Jakob.

In Geneva, Barth was confronted with material poverty for the first time. Through his reading of Calvin he learned that the kingdom of God is a state of perfect love for God and brothers. Poverty and social injustice are not an inevitable fate, but conditions that can be overcome with human means. This new perspective shaped Barth's ten-year pastoral office in Safenwil (1911–1921). He sided with the 700 or so workers who worked 12 hours a day for low wages in the two textile factories in Safenwils. To help build the local union, he studied factory law, insurance, and union studies extensively. In his lecture Jesus Christ and the Social Movement (December 1911) in the Safenwil workers' association, he praised socialism as a direct continuation of the spiritual power that Jesus of Nazareth brought into history. Spirit is not a world separate from matter and not only to be understood internally. Barth put it pointedly: “We shouldn't go to heaven, but heaven should come to us.” Jesus and capitalism are incompatible. This system must fall, especially its basic pillar, private ownership of the means of production . The church must finally express courageously that there should be no social need and fully support it.

The factory owner's son Walter Hüssy then wrote an open letter: Barth had tried to sow discord between employer and employees. The factory owners are the engines of prosperity and need “a certain amount of elbow room”. The Communism never works; corresponding biblical words are out of date. An anonymous author warned in the local newspaper that Barth was engaging in agitatory "rooting out work", inciting class warfare and pleasing himself as the "red messiah ". After Barth had publicly rejected the role of a neutral mediator in industrial disputes, Gustav Hüssy (a cousin of the manufacturer's son) resigned from the chairmanship of the parish council. However, the vast majority of them supported Barth. From then on he was known as the “red pastor of Safenwil”. He gave many socialist lectures in the canton of Aargau , collected material on the living conditions of the workers and connected with other religious-social pastors. He and his wife were also involved in the local Blue Cross Club and against gambling. Barth's main activity remained preaching and confirmation classes. He provisionally turned down the chairmanship of the Safenwil workers' association, offered in 1913, in order to undergo further political training. His pastor colleague and lifelong friend Eduard Thurneysen brought him into contact with the prominent Swiss religious socialists Hermann Kutter and Leonhard Ragaz . In debates about their relationship to each other, Barth and Thurneysen developed their own theological position. Barth was fascinated by Kutter's emphasis on the church's social engagement. He had learned from him "to take the big word 'God' seriously, responsibly and weightily again".

First World War

The behavior of his teachers towards the First World War from August 1914 onwards fundamentally shook Barth's trust in their theology. Martin Rade admired the "calm, order and security" of German mobilization. There is only one reason for the overwhelming " experience ", "how this war came over the soul of my people": God is the hidden, active author behind the "wonderful solidarity", devotion and willingness to make sacrifices of the Germans. Barth resolutely rejected this idea. In a letter to Rade (August 31, 1914), he criticized "how now in all of Germany love of the country, belligerence and Christian faith are getting into a hopeless mess". Instead of the gospel , “a Germanic battle religion is put into effect, embellished with Christianity through much talk of 'sacrifice'”. According to this, the gospel for Rades Christian world was only "varnish" before. Regardless of whether Germany was rightly waging the war or not, Christian theologians should by no means “drag God into the matter as if the Germans and their big guns now feel like his mandataries” and “shoot and burn with a clear conscience should ". Right now, "a bad conscience is the only Christian thing possible". Through further affirmation of the war by German theologians, Barth found his previous "respect for German beings broken forever [...] because I see how your philosophy and your Christianity are now drowning , apart from a few ruins, in this war psychosis". When Barth learned of the 93 manifesto in October 1914 , which his teachers Herrmann, Harnack and Adolf Schlatter had also signed, he asked Herrmann in a letter: How can thorough German academics take a position so quickly without studying files on both sides? How could German Christians maintain their fellowship with Christians abroad if they assigned the war guilt exclusively to foreign countries? Above all: How could the religious “experience” still justify Christian belief when German Christians thought they had to “experience” the war as holy?

Barth now questioned all theories that had led and served to legitimize the war: the Lutheran separation of the Deus absconditus hidden in world events from the Deus revelatus revealed in Jesus , the philosophy of life and Schleiermacher's theology of consciousness. In his lecture War Time and the Kingdom of God (November 1915) he elaborated on this theological criticism for the first time: The war made all other gods "field gray" (uniformed), "de-goded" the world and all the instances with which ethics had been founded up to then ( State, socialism, pacifism , Christianity) proved to be part of this warlike world. God can only be recognized in the life and word of Jesus and is critical of this world and its gods. God is "something fundamentally different [...] from everything else that otherwise seems true and right to me" and cannot be "ramified". For ethical action, the “inner life” of Jesus does not have to illuminate us, but the will of God that is recognizable in the life of Jesus must conquer us so that we recognize and confess this God as the only true God.

Just as disappointed as he was with liberal theology, Barth was disappointed with the social democracy of the states involved in the war, because they had joined in the nationalist enthusiasm for war. Against Kutter, who sided with Germany, and Ragaz, who wanted to continue to “represent” God's kingdom, Barth no longer saw socialism as a realization, but as “one of the most important reflections” of God's kingdom. So he stuck to socialism as a political, non-religious perspective and therefore joined the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) in January 1915 . In the SP, Barth represented the positions of the Zimmerwald Manifesto .

From April 1915 onwards, Christoph Blumhardt's sermons in Bad Boll, his devotional book from 1916 and texts by his father Johann Christoph Blumhardt Barth had a strong influence. In it he found a world-related kingdom of God theology that did not lead to theology of war, but rather to contradiction and waiting, delegitimizing distance from the world ruled by war. For Blumhardt God's kingdom does not occur everywhere, but only in Jesus Christ; only from there do the good protrude into the present. In Barth's own sermons, which he published as a book with Thurneysen in 1917 (Find me, this is how you will live) , he questioned his role and the expectations of his listeners: "The false prophet is the pastor who makes people right." bring God's word "eternal unrest" into the village and question "everything in the most unpleasant way again and again", including himself. In a congregation lecture from 1917 (The New World in the Bible) he presented God's own word ("what he said about us says ”) for the first time against religion (“ the right human thoughts about God ”).

Comments on the Romans

Because of the war affirmation of his teachers, Barth also questioned their biblical exegesis and dogmatics . How can a pastor even speak of God, whose word is different from everything worldly? He looked for answers in Paul's letter to the Romans . From July 1916 he made continuous notes on it. He made the influences of many other authors recognizable, but always wanted to capture the intentions of Paul of Tarsus to make statements . His commentary appeared at Christmas 1918.

In the foreword, Barth made it clear that the historical-critical method was used to record the letter's intention to express itself over time. Paul speak as a prophet and apostle of the kingdom of God to all people of all times. The immediate connection between today's questions and Paul's questions should be discovered so that his answers would become ours. His message does not want to be taken note of in a distant manner, but rather expects participation, understanding and cooperation. The message from God is a living, always new word, not a sophisticated finished system. Throughout all the differences between then and now speak the same eternal Spirit of God . This creates something completely new, unmistakable that only God can do. In Jesus Christ alone he would bring the old world to an end and begin God's new world. In doing so, he reveals that people confuse God with the world, worship themselves and their cultural achievements. All forms of government are the result of power struggles and violence. Because Christians know that the state is temporary and obsolete, they could meet state demands, but never justify and divine state policy. In contrast to post-war authors such as Oswald Spengler, Barth did not hope for a “reconstruction” of the “Christian West ”, but for the complete delegitimation and disempowerment of all “masterless powers and authorities” through the automatic rule of God in Jesus Christ. In doing so, he updated Paul's criticism of idolatry and the Reformation doctrine of justification as a comprehensive criticism of religion , culture and the state. The book met with a great deal of approval, especially among younger theologians like Emil Brunner , and criticism, for example from Barth's former teacher Adolf Jülicher .

In his lecture The Christ in Society (Tambach, September 1919), Barth presented Jesus Christ as a critique of any unauthorized positioning of the divine with previously defined variables such as religion and socialism: God and his kingdom are something completely different, new, which one can only respond to could wait. To relate it to human society like something that is generally known is to clericalize it with a “church superstructure”. It is about God's own movement towards us, which we can only follow, not about religion. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the "absolutely new thing from above", the "vertical line" through and past all religious experience, "the breakthrough and the appearance of the world of God". Radical criticism of society can only be justified from God's original affirmation of the world, thus revealed. The lecture made Barth's new approach known in Germany, so that he received a circle of supporters.

Barth mistrusted the approval of his first commentary on the Romans and, from October 1920, wrote a new version for a year, in which Thurneysen worked intensively. Influenced by Franz Overbeck , Søren Kierkegaard , Heinrich Barth and others, he made the "infinite qualitative difference" between God and the world completely clear, concretized criticism of religion and culture on church criticism and dealt with allegations of biblicism and the ahistorical nature of its interpretation. This new edition received even more and long-term attention. It founded dialectical theology , for which Barth found comrades-in-arms.

Professor in Germany

On the initiative of Pastor Adam Heilmann , Barth was appointed honorary professor for Reformed Theology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in February 1921 without any further academic hurdles . Until then, apart from Calvin, he had hardly dealt with his teaching subject. From October 1921 he held several lectures, each of which he prepared at short notice, including on the Ephesians , Heidelberg Catechism , the Reformed Confessions , Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli and Schleiermacher. Barth acquired extensive knowledge of the history of the Reformation and interpreted the Reformed theology as a necessary answer to the inadequately answered question by Martin Luther about the consequences of the Christian faith for action and social life.

During the hyperinflation of 1923, Barth promoted donations to destitute Göttingen citizens in Switzerland. The nationalism among local academics repelled him. He argued violently with the German national, later National Socialist church historian Emanuel Hirsch about the occupation of the Ruhr and accused him of betraying Christianity to Prussia . Of his colleagues, he only got on well with the archaeologist Erik Peterson . Despite the great demand from students, the faculty listed its offers under external private events, disparaged it compared to Lutheran colleagues and limited its choice of topics to “reformed” dogmatics. In 1924, Barth succeeded in being allowed to read about lessons in the Christian religion , and for the first time also delimited his position from Luther and Calvin. Against the liberal tradition, he defined dogmatics as "scientific reflection on the word of God", not on religion. The testimony accepted by the preacher that “God himself spoke” (deus dixit) is the only legitimation of all theology. Through many lectures all over Germany, Barth gained a growing following.

The Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster awarded Barth his first honorary doctorate in 1922 and appointed him in 1925 as an ordained professor for "Dogmatics and New Testament Exegesis". Barth was delighted with the academic recognition and material security for his family, which now has five children. The house for her did not become available until March 1926. By then, Barth met Charlotte von Kirschbaum . She became his lover and lifelong close associate. In 1929 she brought Barth into contact with the logician Heinrich Scholz , with whom Barth got on well and discussed the scientific nature of theology.

From the summer semester of 1930, Barth taught at the University of Bonn . There he had like-minded colleagues like Karl Ludwig Schmidt and Ernst Wolf and students like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Helmut Gollwitzer . His book Fides quaerens intellectum (“Faith that seeks knowledge”) was created in 1931 from a seminar on Anselm von Canterbury's proof of God . It develops the basic idea of ​​what it means for human knowledge that God reveals himself fully in Jesus Christ. That is why, according to Barth, man can speak of God not only dialectically, but also analogically and discover analogies to God's humanity in the world, even outside of Christianity. This “Christological concentration”, perceived as liberating, determined his further theology and was reflected in the first volume of his KD (1932).

In the 1920s, Barth cared little about politics because of his job, but continuously fought against Christian ingratiation to the existing, especially the German national church representatives. In a lecture in Cardiff in 1925, he warned the church not to take a position on essential political questions always 30 years too late, and gave examples of ethnic nationalism ( fascism ), anti-Semitism and war. When the publisher of the Church Yearbook 1929 with membership statistics praised the self-assertion of the German Evangelical Church (DEK) since the November Revolution, because the "religious idea was more deeply rooted in the German people's soul" than atheism and the "holy nonetheless" thanks to masterly church leadership prevailed empirically, Barth reacted in his essay Quousque tandem? (1930) with extremely sharp criticism: This "broad self-satisfied comfort" is a treacherous conspiracy against the Christian message. The “wretched phrase” of a religious folk soul is an expression of the fact that the empirical church only wants to preserve itself and that this self-interest “inflated by the claim to represent the cause of God” only pursues much more unrestrainedly than everyone else. Barth predicted: "For this opium are also the petty bourgeoisie , which today still form the comfort of the pastors, thank someday." He saw the connection between Christianity and German nationality at DEK representatives as Otto Dibelius as "ideology of the upper middle class “Which one no longer has to fight only theologically, but directly. The national church strives for power and living space without wanting to be asked about the content and goal of its existence: That is why it is looking for state security and social influence. In this way she delivers her message to the needs of the masses whose allegiance she seeks.

Only after the growth of the NSDAP in 1930 did Barth see National Socialism as a danger. Therefore, out of solidarity, he demonstratively joined the SPD on May 1, 1931 . From October 1931, Barth publicly showed solidarity with the pacifist theologian Günther Dehn . He had refused to pass the soldier's death off as a Christian sacrificial death because the killed soldier wanted to kill. Since then, German national and National Socialist students have hindered his appointment with a smear campaign at several universities. Against Emanuel Hirsch and Hermann Dörries , who declared the German nation to be a sacred property binding on Christians, Barth emphasized: Dehn's attitude was the result of dialectical theology, which did not allow its topic to be dictated by the circumstances of the time. Hirsch attributed Barth's criticism to a weak mind and incomprehension of a Swiss for German national feeling. Obedience to God includes "incorporation into the people and state" and their "historical task". Barth replied that Hirsch confused theology with politics and did not recognize the gospel as a critical authority above and beyond "political excitement". These fronts came into play in the church struggle from 1933 onwards . Precisely because of his concrete historical experience, Barth refused all his life to try to derive criteria of Christianity from the respective political-social context.

Love triangle

The educator, nurse and welfare worker Charlotte von Kirschbaum got to know Barth's theology through Georg Merz since 1921, at the latest in the summer of 1925 also Barth personally, during a stay with Merz in the "Bergli", the weekend house of friends of Barth's in Oberrieden . Theological and personal correspondence began, and von Kirschbaum celebrated New Year's Eve in 1925 with the Barth family in Göttingen. Before the family moved, Barth invited them to visit Münster on February 24, 1926. Afterwards, they spoke openly in letters about the love that had developed. Barth communicated this directly to his wife. He did not want a purely spiritual love towards Charlotte, but acknowledged "that it is a question of human earthly love between us, which would have brought us together as man and woman under different circumstances". At the same time, he saw the "love between us [...] as a true, given, irreversible possibility , but also incapable of further development". Suzanne Selinger sees it as undecidable whether or not a sexual relationship actually developed. If anything, it was very limited. Von Kirschbaum spoke of “reviving something within this always difficult limit”, and Nelly Barth wrote that she found it hard to bear that Charlotte “wanted to be a martyr for me right next to me”.

Barth had become estranged from his wife and did not try to regain a fulfilling marriage with her. On the other hand, he did not want a divorce, and in April 1933 Nelly Barth finally decided against such a step, which was very difficult in her situation and socially unrecognized. This led to a life-long triangle relationship that was lived relatively openly. They discussed intensively with each other and with friends how this “emergency community” could be lived with the greatest possible solidarity, empathy and mutual respect. As von Kirschbaum had become indispensable for Barth personally and for his work, in October 1929 he succeeded in getting her to move into the family house in Münster; in March 1930 she moved to Bonn. After almost a year, Nelly expressed the feeling that she had "no air to breathe and no living space" next to Charlotte. However, she could not reach a consensus for Charlotte to move out, but it was agreed to try again for three months as a three-man team. It stayed that way. Despite the alienation and the conflicts, Karl Barth maintained a relationship of trust with Nelly, and some personal questions he discussed with both women first. Even with Charlotte's disease from 1962 (Alzheimer's?) Nelly got closer to him again.

The triangular relationship influenced Barth's view of marriage, also of friendship and relationships in general as fundamentally imperfect. On the one hand they are only a creature image ( imago ) of divine love, on the other hand they are burdened by the fall of man . This can be endured through God's forgiveness and grace. Even in human weakness a core of the archetype remains. Barth's strong remarks on the exclusivity of marriage can be interpreted as hypocrisy. In his letter to Charlotte of February 28, 1926, however, Barth was already aware of this “disproportion between what I say and what I am”. He should not "confirm this disproportion or even just let it rest [...], but [... must] argue against it ". The Protestant ideal of marriage was also valid for him, but he did not see it as otherwise livable.

Charlotte von Kirschbaum devoted all of her energy to Barth's work. Since the beginning of 1929 she no longer earned any money of her own, but instead received a monthly wage of 100 marks as an employee of Barth. She was a secretary, prepared lectures and lectures, learned languages ​​and philosophy, excerpted literature and expertly discussed Barth's approaches and manuscripts. Drafts for many of the extensive exegetical and theological history excursions in the KD go back directly to them. With some lectures and writings, she also emerged as an independent theologian and, especially with regard to the role of women in church and society, had differentiated positions compared to Barth. As Barth's closest collaborator, she has a share in his work that has so far been little researched and recognized. Suzanne Selinger describes the unequal power relations and the - accepted - exploitation, but also sees a theological dimension in the relationship: “The man is troubled by the woman, the woman is troubled by the man: Without troubling the other part, it becomes where and as always men and women meet, do not leave. "

Church struggle

Barth experienced Adolf Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in January 1933 and the enthusiasm of many Christians as a shock. In his lecture The First Commandment as theological axiom (March 1933), he declared that only obedience to Jesus Christ, the rejection of all additional sources of knowledge and the rejection of natural theology fulfilled the first of the Ten Commandments . This was directed against German Christians (DC) and nationally conservative Lutherans, who presented "race, ethnicity and nation" as natural orders of life and God's law and placed them above the gospel. In April Barth wrote to the Prussian minister of education, Bernhard Rust, that his teaching activities were determined solely by theological objectivity. Nevertheless, he could not accept a state condition to leave the SPD. Rust said he could continue teaching for the time being. Barth referred to this in August 1933, when the Nazi regime asked all officials to leave the now banned SPD.

Theological Existence Today , first issue

On June 24, 1933, the Nazi regime forced Friedrich von Bodelschwingh to resign from the office of the Reich Bishop to replace him with DC leader Ludwig Müller . On July 1st, Barth wrote in the first issue of his journal Theologische Existence today : He was trying, "... as before and as if nothing had happened - perhaps in a slightly exalted tone, but without direct reference - to do theology and only theology". Instead of talking about the situation, Christians should speak to the matter (Jesus Christ) right now and resist the temptation "under the stormy impression of certain 'powers, principalities and authorities' to seek God elsewhere". Only a church reform based solely on the Word of God is authentic. With the office of the Reich Bishop, the state imposed Hitler's leadership principle on the church . It has to preach the Gospel to every state and thus limit its claim to totality. You can therefore not put up with a synchronization . Church communion is determined not by blood and race, but by the Holy Spirit and baptism . If the DEK were to exclude the Jewish Christians or treat them as second-class Christians, it would no longer be a Christian church. With this, Barth contradicted the Aryan paragraph that the DC wanted to enforce in the DEK. He also sent the text to Hitler and wrote to him that Protestant theology must "inexorably and carefree go its own way in the new Germany too." For the church elections on July 23, 1933, Barth founded the list For the Freedom of the Gospel , which won six seats against the DC majority and the nationalist Young Reformation movement in Bonn.

DC representatives like Franz Tügel publicly attacked Barth as the main opponent: In truth, it is about politics, not theology; As a Swiss, Democrat and SPD member, he endangers the German state and the nation. In autumn 1933, Barth warned the Pastors' Emergency League not to cooperate with either the DC or the NS church government and to oppose all orders that contradict the nature of the church. The situation is comparable to the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire , when victims denied Christ before the image of the emperor . He instructed the US politician Charles S. MacFarland to direct Hitler: to appoint Ludwig Müller as Reich Bishop was like making Captain von Köpenick Minister of Defense. In October 1933, Barth refused the Hitler salute in his lectures, which the Nazi regime had demanded of all state officials. When the university director ordered the greeting, Barth complained in a letter to the minister of education: The theology of the university is subject to the gospel, which opposes the state's claim to totality with its own superior totality. He considered it right to forbid the Hitler salute in all Protestant and Catholic lectures in Germany. The rector commented that Barth was trying to get his dismissal in order to portray himself as a famous martyr around the world. Barth's statements and letters reached the Secret State Police (Gestapo).

At their first meeting in January 1934, the DC opponents in the DEK wanted to thank God for Adolf Hitler. Barth strictly rejected this: Evangelical Christians had a different God, faith and spirit. There is only an either-or to the DC. In doing so, he strengthened those DEK forces who, in April 1934, declared themselves to be the “legitimate Evangelical Church in Germany” against the policy of conformity. As a representative of the Reformed, he was appointed to the four-member DEK committee that prepared the Barmen Confessing Synod. Because the Gestapo had banned Barth from traveling, he came late to the committee meeting on May 15 and wrote the Barmer Theological Declaration during the lunch break, the draft of which Hans Asmussen and Thomas Breit then approved. After protests by Lutherans Hermann Sasse and Paul Althaus , who missed the word “people” in it, the Synod discussed Barth's draft and made minor changes. He was not invited, but took part unannounced. After Asmussen had explained the text, 139 delegates from 18 regional churches unanimously accepted the declaration and thus founded the Confessing Church (BK) on May 31, 1934 . The first of the six Barmer theses confesses Jesus Christ as the only word of God and denies recognizing "other events and powers, figures and truths as God's revelation". Without this complete rejection of natural theology, Barth explained, there would inevitably lead to the denial of Jesus Christ in the church. The negations associated with each thesis were aimed at contemporary history : the rise of the Nazi regime to power was not a divine revelation; Laws of the Nazi state were not to be passed off as God's commandments; the church fellowship should never be determined by ideological-political, perhaps racist concepts; because all church offices are subordinate to the only “leader” Jesus Christ, state leadership offices in the church are impossible; the state must ensure “justice and peace”, the church must remind him of this task and limit his claim to totality with reference to God's kingdom. Barth later regretted personal guilt that he had not fought for a “seventh thesis” against the persecution of the Jews, although it would have been hopeless at the time.

After the synod, the Reich Security Main Office noted : Barth's theology was a real danger, as it created islands for people to evade demands of the Nazi state for religious reasons. From July to October 1934, the Reich Ministry of the Interior confiscated all editions of Theological Existence today written by Barth . He had to get state approval for new texts. In consultation with his publisher, Barth decided not to use forewords so that the magazine could continue to appear. He pointed out to the readers that the topicality of the texts can be found between their lines. After the Gestapo interrogated Barth's 16-year-old son Christoph for hours about an intercepted letter critical of the regime in England, his parents sent him to Switzerland to go to school again.

In October 1934, Barth took part in the second Synod of Confessions in Berlin-Dahlem and welcomed its decision to have its own governing bodies as a necessary consequence of the Barmer Declaration. He was elected to the 22-member Reich Brotherhood Council and the six-member Council of the BK. In a conversation with Hitler (October 30), however, some Lutheran regional bishops agreed on a church leadership other than that decided by the BK Synod. Thereupon Barth and three other theologians resigned from the Reich Brotherhood Council in November 1934. The bishop's deputy , Wilhelm Pressel , said that Barth had become “too much of a burden, both denominationally and politically” for the DEK. Barth saw the fact that the rest of the Brotherhood Council accepted the compromise negotiated with Hitler as a break with everything for which he had fought theologically. Now the prerequisites of this struggle (the resisting faith in Jesus Christ alone) must be taken seriously in a completely new way.

In August 1934, the Nazi regime required all state officials to take an oath of office on Hitler. Barth did not appear for the swearing-in dates and explained to the Bonn rector that he could only take the oath with the addition "as far as I can answer for it as a Protestant Christian". The Ministry of Culture then suspended him on November 26, 1934 with immediate effect. The Nazi-controlled media claimed that Barth had completely refused to take the Hitler oath and thus evaded any state claim. The NSDAP Reichsleitung demanded that the BK must distance itself from him. BK representative Hans von Soden had resigned the Hitler oath without reservation and complained that Barth was a burden on the unity of the BK and was questioning its loyalty to the state. Barth replied that the Nazi regime itself emphasized that Hitler was “Tsar and Pope in one person”, theologically an incarnated God over whom there was no constitution, no right and law, so that the sworn had to surrender himself completely and permanently . Doubts as to whether Hitler would strive for Germany's well-being under all circumstances would then be treason. If the state rejects the reasonable reservation of the oath, it shows that it wants to be understood totally and antichristian. Only if the DEK leadership publicly declares that God's biblical commandment limits Hitler's claim to totality for every evangelical Christian, and the state does not contradict this, can he waive the addition to the oath.

When Reich Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick threatened the DEK with the withdrawal of state funds because "all sorts of anti-state and treasonous elements are gathering here under the guise of Christian concerns", DEK representative August Marahrens hastened to appease. On December 7, 1934, the Bonn district court opened criminal proceedings against Barth. His friends published a private letter in which the DEK interpreted the reference to God in the Hitler Oath as the exclusion of acts contrary to God's command. That forced Marahrens to send this letter to the minister of education. Barth was now ready to renounce his addendum. But two days later the public prosecutor confirmed: The Hitler Oath required "blind trust" that Hitler would not contradict God's commandments. Its purpose is precisely to rule out reservations. The reference to God only confirms the unconditional loyalty of the sworn to Hitler. This alone has to decide what God's commandment corresponds to for the good of Germany. Barth protested: This would make Hitler a second god. He quoted the apology of Socrates and commented: By recognizing the church, the state, for its own sake, affirms the limits set for it. The theology professor is a guard appointed by the state to guard this frontier. He was dismissed. The public justification for the verdict was not with the conflict over the Hitler Oath, but with Barth's statements about the Pastors' Emergency League and MacFarland, his refusal to give the Hitler salute and SPD membership.

Barth appealed. In February 1935, Hitler requested the court file on his case. In March the Nazi regime issued a ban on speaking and preaching against Barth. The DEK declined his request to defend him with their lawyers and did not offer him any other positions. In May 1935, Reich Bishop Müller scandalized a joking interview statement by Barth that Switzerland had to strengthen its northern border; thus treason is in the room. Thereupon DEK and BK representatives demanded that Barth should stay away from the third Synod of Confessions in Augsburg . He wrote: Once again that “complete theological immateriality” and “pitiful fear of man” has become visible on the political side. Nevertheless, the BK continues to boastfully call itself the “Confession Front”. That is why he despises the ban imposed on him. When the appellate court surprisingly lifted Barth's suspension due to formal errors, Minister of Education Rust put him into early retirement on June 21, 1935 and instructed the University of Bonn to discontinue his payments. For about a year, Emanuel Hirsch had worked towards Barth's dismissal through one of his students in the ministry. On June 22nd, the Reich Ministry for Science, Education and Public Education declared that only the totalitarian understanding of the Oath of Hitler, which Barth opposed, was permissible. On June 25, the University of Basel offered him the appointment of Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics. Despite serious concerns about leaving the BK in the aggravated situation, Barth accepted the offer because of the lack of solidarity in the matter of the oath. In the same month he moved to Basel.

At the end of June 1935, Barth retrospectively judged the BK: “It still has no heart for millions of people who suffer injustice. She has not yet found a word on the simplest questions of public honesty. She still talks - when she does speak - only for her own cause. It still maintains the fiction as if it were dealing with a constitutional state in the sense of Rom. 13 in today's state. ”He could“ under the illusion that the real opponent of a professing church was not the national socialist The [ialistic] state as such is no longer participating ”.

"A Swiss voice"

From July 1935, Barth advised the BK from Switzerland. He also concentrated on working on the KD. He discussed new chapters in advance with his students. In his seminal essay Gospel and Law , he invalidated the Lutheran separation of Christian ethics from the gospel, which had led DC and parts of Lutheranism to popular nominations such as "race", "people", "family", the "total state", the Issued “healthy popular sentiments” etc. as laws of creation and binding commandments of God for Christians. On the other hand, Barth argued that God's ultimate will can be read only from his actions in Jesus Christ, and from there he founded an anti-racist and anti-fascist political ethic. He traveled to Barmen to read the article, but was expelled again immediately because of the large number of visitors. On Barth's 50th birthday in 1936, despite the censorship , German friends paid tribute to him as a DEK teacher with a commemorative publication and referred to the smear campaign there against him. The Nazi Propaganda Ministry today forced the publisher of Theological Existence to quit Barth as co-editor and threatened to ban the magazine if it continued to print Barth's articles. From 1937, Reich Church Minister Hanns Kerrl no longer allowed semesters abroad in Basel to be recognized. When a printing ban for the KD became foreseeable, Barth published all other KD part-volumes in the Evangelischer Verlag Zollikon .

When a state-appointed senior church councilor demanded a Hitler oath from all pastors of the Old Prussian Union (APU) for the “ Führer birthday ” (April 20) 1938, analogous to the official oath of 1933, the BK discussed whether the oath should be taken with or without an additional reservation. Barth publicly advised to refuse the oath altogether because church and state organs alone decided on its scope anyway. The oath should obviously line the pastors into the "columns" of the total state and oblige them to recognize the Nazi regime, its ideology and politics. He breaks the First Commandment in any form. An addition would be an ineffective protest against the absolute claim of National Socialism. The APU Synod decided to take the oath with an additional proposal from the BK. With that she gave up the Barmer declaration for Barth. Shortly afterwards, the National Socialist Martin Bormann mocked the decision as being irrelevant to the Nazi state.

In the spring of 1938 (after the annexation of Austria ), Barth recalled the Reformation right of resistance during his Gifford Lectures on the Confessio Scotica : counterviolence to protect the defenseless from the violence of tyranny is for Christians always the ultima ratio , but then a necessary part of the “political worship service”. “There may be a resistance against political power that is not only permitted but also divinely required, a resistance that may then also be about using violence against violence. Otherwise the resistance against tyranny, the prevention of the shedding of innocent blood perhaps cannot be carried out. ”In his article Justification and Law (June 1938), Barth attacked the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms , which gave the nation state its own legality and so on strongly favored the Nazi dictatorship. On the other hand, Barth developed criteria for assessing current politics from the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because the demonic state, who wrongly crucified Jesus to serve God's justification of the sinner, remains subject to God's rule and must be reminded by the church of his commission for justice and peace. Not every form of government, but the democratic constitutional state is closest to the gospel. To create and defend it is the special responsibility of Christians. In the event of barbaric interventions, they would have to be ready for armed military resistance and support constitutional states like Switzerland in this.

Against the Western appeasement policy towards the Nazi regime, which threatened Czechoslovakia , Barth wrote to his friend from Prague theologian Josef Hromádka on September 19, 1938: With the Czechs freedom stand and fall, Europe and perhaps the world freedom. He hoped that the “Sons of the Hussites ” would offer armed resistance to the Nazi regime when it marched in: “Every Czech soldier who then fights and suffers will also do so for us - and I say it today without reservation: he will too do for the Church of Jesus Christ, which in the orbit of Hitler and Mussolini can only fall into either ridicule or extermination. ”Currently, Christians have to put their love of peace and fear of violence behind their love of freedom and fear of injustice. In view of Germany's superior military power, it is all the more important to allow Jesus Christ to give you the good conscience necessary for the seemingly hopeless resistance. Because the Western powers wanted to cede the Sudetenland to Hitler in the upcoming Munich Agreement , Barth allowed Hromadka to publish the letter.

The letter appeared in Prague, Switzerland, the Netherlands and, under the title "Karl Barth als Warbringer", also in Germany. The Nazi Propaganda Ministry used it for a campaign against Barth's German supporters; the SS accused the BK of state and popular treason. The DC theologian Ernst Barnikol scourged Barth as an “anti-German pope”, “war theologian” and “agitator”, who now mixes politics and religion himself. The Giessen theological faculty banned Barth's writings. They were no longer allowed to be sold in Germany. The University of Münster recognized Barth's honorary doctorate. The BK declared: Barth had left the Barmer Declaration and was now speaking as a politician, no longer as a theologian. Christians should never call to arms to defend the freedom of the church. But Barth affirmed that in view of the urge to conquer and the claim to totality of National Socialism, the church was indirectly defended at the borders of still free countries in Europe. In October 1938 he regretted to friends that he had largely remained silent about politics from 1921 to 1933: “Today it is no longer possible.” Today the total state is real, and you can only say no loudly or softly. Whoever could still talk had to do it now; As a respected theologian, he must not remain silent where everything is at stake.

From 1937 Barth supported the Swiss Evangelical Aid Organization for the Confessing Church in Germany (SEHBKD) founded by Paul Vogt . In an appeal for solidarity, he wrote that National Socialism was waging a " war of annihilation against the internal and external existence of the Christian Church". Since the Christian faith knows no national borders and declarations of neutrality , the Swiss cannot pretend that this need of their neighbors is none of their business. When Switzerland refused visas to threatened German Jews after the November pogroms in 1938 , Barth declared at the first SEHBKD annual meeting: National Socialism had long since spread to Switzerland, where it was partly shown benevolence and only alleged excesses; this is shown by the “down-to-earth anti-Semitism” of Swiss nationalism, which is hailed as a national defense. The anti-Semite rejects the grace that the crucified Jew Jesus gave to the people of Israel and only in this way also to the non-Jews. “Anyone who is an enemy of Jews in principle reveals himself as such as an enemy of Jesus Christ in principle. Anti-Semitism is a sin against the Holy Spirit . ”Therefore, Christian faith and National Socialism are incompatible; the church must pray for its end. At the end of 1938 he affirmed: The church must absolutely say no to National Socialism, because it bears “all the characteristics of a fundamentally anti-Christian opposing church”, destroying all rule of law, order, freedom, real authority and “killing off” the “roots” of the church with its fundamental anti-Semitism “Strive. His call for armed resistance to the Czechs can be understood from this situation and can only be rejected with better arguments.

In the Godesberg Declaration (March 26, 1939, shortly after the break-up of the rest of the Czech Republic ), eleven DEK regional churches rejected any international church organization as a “political degeneration”: The Christian faith unfolded “fruitfully only within the given order of creation” and was “ the unbridgeable religious opposition to Judaism ”. Barth's counter-declaration for the WCC (May 1939) emphasized: For the Church of Jesus Christ, it is not the national structure but the spiritual unity of all Christians "apart from race, nation and gender (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11)" and the recognition of Judaism is essential. “'Salvation comes from the Jews' (Joh. 4,22).” The WCC did not take up his question as to whether the Christians in Germany should not do everything possible to prevent the foreseeable war and a “victory of the usurpers”: One shouldn't burden them with an appeal to conscientious objection . Barth regretted that the WCC had spared the BK this decision. During the attack on Poland (September 1st) he immediately discussed the behavior now required with German students. In October 1939 he criticized the WCC's silence on the case of war: he would say something “at the earliest five years after the conclusion of peace (and in view of the heap of rubble that then ensued) - and then again only something desperately academic, mediating and vague”. He had to overcome any respect for “'bodies' and levels of authority” and no longer weigh up the pros and cons, but rather clearly state that one can only pray and work for a just peace, that is, a victory over the Nazi regime. "For God's sake do something brave!"

In his lecture Des Christen Wehr und Waffen (January 1940), Barth asked the Swiss pacifists whether they could still forego resistance to the Nazi regime's total striving for power. From March 1940 he volunteered for military service and insisted on being trained in the weapon and used in the event of war. He served 104 days in guard company V and praised the “simple closeness” to non-religious comrades. In June 1940 he warned that the arrival of the German spirit in the Swiss media, offices and schools would lead to the loss of the Swiss constitution. The Swiss would then forget to call injustice injustice and to give the persecuted refuge. He asked if they would take the Rütli oath in the event of German occupation and would rather accept the destruction of their cities than the foreign flag. He supported General Henri Guisan's defense strategy and sent him the lecture. On September 7, 1940, he co-founded the National Resistance Campaign against a German invasion. In his lecture Our Church and Switzerland today (February 1941) he warned: Because the Nazi regime wraps itself in the “garb of God”, systematically destroys all resistance and strives for a “reorganization of Europe”, the Swiss are allowed to do so under no circumstances calm down with correct friendly relations with him. Whether they let themselves be conquered or brought into line depends above all on the Christian faith, which gives the necessary resistance to National Socialism and defeatism .

After protests by the German ambassador, the Swiss federal prosecutor wanted to persuade Barth to withdraw the text. He wanted to submit texts affecting foreign policy to the censorship authorities in the future, but emphasized that if necessary he would publish them abroad without censorship and not forego critical lectures. The fact that the Nazi regime resembles a counter-deity is an inalienable theological confession, since the Christian belief in the only true God can only be expressed today with the threatening opposite. Federal Councilor Eduard von Steiger warned that Barth should not publicly instruct the Swiss state about its tasks. Nevertheless, on the anniversary of the Federal Constitution in 1941, he reminded the Swiss Confederation that it was founded on "the idea of ​​a community of free peoples united by law", not linguistic or ethnic concepts. It is neutral to any striving for supremacy of individual European states, but must be against those who act as troublemakers and lawbreakers against all states of Europe. If National Socialism were to win in Switzerland, it would lose its right to exist. Because the censorship is currently suppressing reports that are unpleasant for the Axis powers , the Swiss are only incompletely informed about the situation in Europe. Barth sent this lecture to Federal President Ernst Wetter and Henri Guisan. On July 29, 1941, the censorship authorities forbade the dissemination of the lecture text: Barth's hostile attitude towards Germany disrupted peaceful relations with the neighboring country. He used the theological framework as a cover for dangerous political statements. He protested: Reformed theology in particular justified his view of the Swiss constitution. It attacks the Reformed Confession to demand that it should only speak theologically and not politically at the same time. This “two-drawer doctrine” is the fatal error of German Lutheranism and is responsible for the current situation in Germany. One day the Swiss government would be happy to be able to point out Swiss citizens to England and America who had talked like him and who were allowed to do so precisely because of their neutrality.

At the request of Bonhoeffer's friend, Bishop George Kennedy Allen Bell , Barth read a “Christmas message to Christians in Germany” on the BBC in December 1941 : In it he referred to “the terrible thing” that the Jews were currently suffering (the Holocaust ). That is why Christians should not withdraw either into private or church life. In April 1942, through the BBC, he praised the massive resignation of Norwegian pastors as a legitimate protest against Nazi church policy. The German embassy complained that Barth could still “incite against the Reich” and support “enemy propaganda”. A legal examination showed that Barth had not violated Swiss neutrality in a criminal way, but that it might have damaged the neutrality policy. On August 18, 1942, the University of Basel warned him that he had supported English propaganda in the BBC and served the warfare of a foreign power. From February 1941 to spring 1943, Barth's telephone was monitored in order to determine his contacts abroad. When he found out about this in October 1942, he was reminded of the Gestapo. After the end of the war in 1945, he summed up: "It was not the speaking that was forbidden to me and others that was dangerous to the country, but rather the silence that was wanted to command us."

In November 1941, a majority of the SEHBKD led by Emil Brunner denied the present meaning of Joh 4,22  EU ("Salvation comes from the Jews"). Barth then wanted to resign and was only kept because the SEHBKD promised to limit itself to charitable work. In July 1942, when more Jews again sought refuge in Switzerland, Barth declared that the Jewish question was currently " the Christian confessional question ". Against a new law with which Switzerland rejected around 10,000 refugees and treated the rest of them unworthily, he created three reasons for their admission: The Swiss were concerned about the refugees, not although, but “because they were Jews and as such the Savior's bodily Brothers are ”. It is honorable to Switzerland that they see in it the last refuge of justice and mercy. They showed the Swiss what they had miraculously been spared. In June 1944, Barth urged the newly elected SP Federal Councilor Ernst Nobs to immediately and decisively do something to save the Jews of Hungary, about whose deportation Rabbi Jacob Taubes had informed him. He turned down an invitation to a lecture tour in the USA in order to continue to campaign for refugees and persecuted people. He became a member of the Society Switzerland-Soviet Union and an aid organization for Russian internees because he rejected the “Bolshevik and Communist terror” in Switzerland and recognized the Soviet resistance against Hitler.

From 1938 to the end of 1942, Barth wrote continuously to the Christians of the states occupied or threatened by Germany, France, Great Britain, Norway, the Netherlands and the USA (even before they entered the war). In it he insisted on them on behalf of the WCC that the war of the anti-Hitler coalition was a just war . The resistance to National Socialism could after military defeats not stop because success does not decide about the truth. Christians must support all organizations that fought the Nazi regime. Under no circumstances should the Church conclude peace or even an armistice with Hitler. You have to tell the world that there is an absolutely necessary opposition to National Socialism. Barth saw the turn of the war since the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943 as a divine judgment: “One does not fight in vain against the Jew Jesus.” Anti-Semitism, which is the essence of National Socialist self-deification, tried to intervene in God's world domination and thus necessarily brought about the German collapse. People are not now entitled to judge again, but rather the readiness for new friendship with the Germans. This also includes making it clear to them that their current suffering is self-inflicted and a necessary consequence of their aberration. The DEK must make a clear and sober declaration of guilt. Barth's texts from 1935 to 1945 were later published collectively under the title "A Swiss Voice". In 1944 Otto Roos created a plaster bust of Barth.

From January 1945 Barth worked in the National Committee for Free Germany (NKFD), in which German exiled communists and anti-fascists strived for an independent democratic Germany. In February he chaired a meeting of the “ Movement 'Free Germany' in Switzerland ” with protesters in exile. He praised the fact that the communists in the group in particular campaigned for democracy in Germany without reservation. Charlotte von Kirschbaum joined the group in March and was elected to the three-person board in May. In December Barth opposed the dissolution of the NKFD, with which the KPD reacted to the formation of political parties.

Since the beginning of 1945, Barth has publicly advocated a comprehensive reconciliation with the Germans in Switzerland, because the forgiveness of Jesus Christ applies to them too (The Germans and we) :

"Come to me, you unsympathetic guys, you bad Hitler boys and girls, you brutal SS soldiers, you bad Gestapo villains, you sad compromisers and collaborationists, all you herd people who have been patiently and stupidly after your so-called Führer for so long! Come to me, you guilty and complicit, to whom it is happening and must happen what your deeds are worth! Come to me, I know you well; but I do not ask who you are and what you have done; I only see that you have reached the end and have to start from scratch, whether it be better or not; I want to refresh you, I want to start over with you now from scratch! "

post war period

Barth in 1956 in Wuppertal

In his lecture The Spiritual Requirements for Reconstruction in the Post-War Period , held on the day the war ended (May 8, 1945), Barth stated: “Man is not good.” No more proof was required for this. That is why one has to ask what order people need in everyday life in order not to become a “monster”. Cultural work apparently does not prevent a Buchenwald concentration camp from being built not far from the Schiller and Goethe House . Everyone is jointly responsible for this, not just the Nazi regime. All bystanders who “flee into the herd” with excuses, instead of “seeing to the right” with all their might, are to blame for Hitler and Mussolini. Rebuilding can only succeed if everyone stands up for real life, for the pending concrete auxiliary and development tasks, not for ideas and principles.

In August 1945 the US military allowed Barth to travel to Germany to investigate the ideological burden on Protestant church leaders. He was admitted to the newly founded Brother Council of the BK, accompanied the establishment of the EKD in Treysa and campaigned for trust in its leadership, to which his friend Martin Niemöller belonged. In Switzerland, Barth initially defended the BK: “Large circles” would have “said a clear 'no'” despite the unimaginable terror. Most of them were neither heroes nor National Socialists. That is why the Germans should not be seen as a “great Nazi gang”. But he criticized their tendency to demonize Hitler instead of simply admitting: “We were political fools.” From then on, he advocated a brief, clear confession of guilt by the EKD: “We Germans were wrong, hence today's chaos, and we Christians there were Germans in Germany too! ”The Stuttgart confession of guilt (October 19) lagged behind. Barth therefore appealed to the Germans in his word (November 2nd): Because the Gospel absolves them of all guilt, they should “not stop thinking and wanting for themselves” and never again surrender to a regime like Hitler's . The theologian Helmut Thielicke , a BK member, immediately contradicted: There is no specific German guilt. The "Versailles dictate" had made Hitler possible. Even abroad have not clearly distanced themselves from him. Barth did not experience the plight of the Germans. Unilateral confessions of guilt only encouraged unilateral retaliation. One does not need instruction from abroad, but that “the others also begin to beat their chests”. Barth was disappointed by this widespread “frightening lack of penitence” and the rejection of the vague Stuttgart declaration in the EKD. Together with Niemöller, he began to consider what the BK Brother Council could do for the comprehensive reversal of the Germans and against restorative tendencies in the EKD.

From 1946 onwards, Barth gave lectures again in Bonn, this time in free speech, mostly to non-theologians and returned prisoners of war. In his lecture Christengemeinde und Bürgergemeinde he described “Church” and “State” as communities with different reasons, but related common tasks. Knowing how dangerous and endangered man is, the Christian community affirms a necessary, provisional, democratic legal system for humanization and the protection of society: "After God himself has become man, man is the measure of all things." That means acceptance and Limitation of the state monopoly on the use of force by a church, if necessary also violent right of resistance. State authority, including war, must always remain the ultima ratio. Because the Christian community under Jesus Christ's sole rule does not have to implement a hierarchy, but rather exemplary equal participation of all members, there is not necessarily, but real, an "affinity" to the democratic form of society. In view of the task of society as a whole to learn democracy, the church of all things should not become a refuge for nationalism and authoritarianism again. A Christian party should be rejected because it abandons the ability of society as a whole to make analogies with the kingdom of God, separates Christians from other Christians, contradicts the ideological pluralism of democracy and suggests the error that politics is "Christian" instead of being justified by maintaining and building the common good.

In August 1947, Barth wrote the Darmstadt Word with the Lutheran theologian Hans Joachim Iwand . It self-critically named political “wrong turns” of Protestant Christians in Germany since the imperial era, which the Nazi regime had historically made possible. Barth emphasized the anti-democratic, power-state and capitalist undesirable development: the state was founded "internally solely on a strong government, externally solely on the development of military power", "with the conservative powers (monarchy, nobility, army, large estates, large-scale industry). "Allied, the" right to revolution "rejected, but the development towards dictatorship tolerated and approved. The church overlooked the fact that the economic materialism of Marxism was reminiscent of the forgotten biblical hope for resurrection for this world, of the “cause of the poor” and the ultimate overthrow of unjust rulers all over the world.

In 1948, at the founding meeting of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam , Barth gave the main lecture “The disorder of men and God's plan of salvation”: “In the midst of this disorder, to display God's kingdom as that of justice and peace, that is the prophetic mission of the church: the mission their political guardianship and their social Samaritan service. ”During a visit to Hungary, he advocated relaxed waiting for political developments. The church must not identify with any system, but must exercise its prophetic watchdog over all. Because of the social weaknesses of the West, Hungary's Christians could not completely reject communism. Emil Brunner, on the other hand, equated Soviet communism and National Socialism as totalitarianism and said that the church had to say no to this just as it did in 1934. What Barth ridiculed as western nervousness was a "horrified turning away" from a "truly diabolical" system of injustice. Barth replied that he rejects anti-communism on principle because the church is dealing with changeable historical reality, not timeless with -isms and systems. National Socialism threatened democracy in real terms and as an idea. On the other hand, the West rejects communism anyway. It is not the task of the church to confirm the citizens in the daily anti-communism of Western media. After violent attacks from Swiss newspapers, he affirmed in 1949 that the West could only ward off communism through “better justice” and that the social question had to be accepted. The church does not have to confess to the “Christian Occident”, but rather to look for a place above the current systemic contradiction.

In a letter to State Security Minister Wilhelm Zaisser , Barth protested in 1953 against the arrest of Protestant pastors in the GDR : This only confirms the Western image of a church in the East that has been brought into line. Although Barth received no answer, the GDR gave church representatives a greater hearing afterwards. In 1958, Barth responded to complaints about the state's obstruction of religious and confirmation classes with an extensive letter to a pastor in the GDR : Not communism as a whole, but practical attempts to bring people to “physical godlessness” should be resisted. The omnipotent party, propaganda, and police in the east correspond to the equally omnipotent press, private sector, and ostentation in the west. But because Soviet communism also has its role in God's plan of salvation, one can hope for its humanization. The church can fulfill its task in “God's beloved eastern zone” without public support and tolerance and exemplify this for the western churches. The letter was criticized in the West as an instruction to collaborate, by GDR representatives as hostile to the state, and by some GDR pastors as unrealistic. Barth publicly criticized Soviet injustice several times. The local "despotism, cunning and ruthlessness" is "loathsome and terrifying". Total hostility to this system would not help either the people living there or the West to solve its own problems. Barth wanted to contribute to the détente between East and West, not least to prevent a nuclear war and to keep a democratic socialism open as a perspective of both systems.

Just like the EKD leadership of Gustav Heinemann and Martin Niemöller at the time, Barth decidedly rejected the planned rearmament of both German states from autumn 1950 . He rejected attempts to justify them with his letter of Hromadka from 1938: There is currently no total threat to freedom and an acute danger of war. The Soviet Union was not a peace power, but the churches had to counter fear and hatred against Russia. After five years of demilitarization , the Germans could not be expected to fight other Germans and again sacrifice their youth in a war. On Volkstrauertag 1954, he sharply attacked the foreseeable integration of West Germany into NATO : West German armament would lead to World War III because the Soviet Union could only see it as a provocation. You set up a German government again and split Europe into hostile blocs. Behind it stand the same panic and mass suggestion as with National Socialism. Communism can only be fought off with social reforms, not with tank divisions and nuclear cannons. The speech caused a media scandal; the SPD also distanced itself. Because of this speech, Federal President Theodor Heuss refused to award Barth the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1958 .

In August 1945, Barth stated that the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki fundamentally called into question the previous ethics of war. On April 19 (Good Friday) 1957, shortly after the “ Göttinger Eighteen ” and Albert Schweitzer , he publicly called on all citizens of Europe to make it clear to their governments and media “by all means” that they “do not want to exterminate nor be exterminated for any purpose ... ":" You should stop those responsible in the West and in the East! shout out that their ears are ringing: Put an end to the preparations for a war with weapons that make it pointless from the outset for everyone involved! Put an end to the mutual threat of the use of such weapons! "It is not about principles, ideologies and systems, but about life and people:" They should help the cause of the most primitive reason to become lawful before it is too late . ”In May 1957, Barth added on Radio Warsaw that only that world power would credibly strive for peace which“ will first and foremost expressly renounce further nuclear weapons experiments without regard to the behavior of the other side ”. In January 1958 he anonymously formulated ten theses of the BK Brother Council, which called on the churches to profess their faith against all weapons of mass destruction : "A contrary position or neutrality on this question is not defensible from a Christian perspective." In June 1958, Barth sent the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches a draft, who campaigned for the Swiss to renounce nuclear weapons. In it he made it clear that, unlike previous conventional wars, a nuclear war cannot be ethically justified as self-defense . The federal government rejected the draft by a majority. In 1959 Barth founded the “European Congress for Nuclear Disarmament” with Bertrand Russell and Hans Werner Richter . In 1962 he worked with Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Leopold Ružička for a ban on ABC weapons in the Swiss federal constitution. In his Doctrine of Reconciliation (KD IV; 1956 - 1959) he gave the theological justification: With the resurrection of the one who was crucified on behalf of all, God freed us from the total judicial office, finally excluded the void, set an insurmountable limit to total annihilation and the Rebellion against the sin of annihilation started. He shifted the accent from the judging to the gracious God: in conscious contrast to the merciless “ crusade ideologies” of West and East, which led humanity to the abyss in the Cold War .

Late period

Because the Swiss government recognized his "international reputation", Barth was allowed to teach in Basel beyond the age of 70. He devoted himself to work on the KD every day and spent a lot of free time with his grandchildren. In 1961 he applied for his retirement. Theological faculty and university management voted for his ideal successor, Helmut Gollwitzer. However, the Swiss media sparked a campaign against the “Communist friend”. The authorities prepared an intelligence report on Gollwitzer. The government council appointed Heinrich Ott as Barth's successor. The process hurt him deeply, so he canceled further lectures. Most recently he taught his introduction to evangelical theology , which summarizes his thinking in an understandable way.

In the spring of 1962 Barth traveled through the USA, first to his son Markus, who was a professor in Chicago . Major US media ran editorials about him, compared his importance to the Church with that of Winston Churchill for politics and asked him about his criticism of anti-communism. Barth made it clear that he did not prefer real socialism to Western freedom, but that it was best to use this to criticize his own system deficiencies, for example the misery of the African-Americans on site. During panel discussions in front of around 2000 listeners at the University of Chicago , he pleaded for a US theology of liberation towards humanity, away from the “inferiority complex” over Europe and the “superiority complex” over Africa and Asia. He met the preacher Billy Graham and criticized his evangelism : Graham scared and threatened the listeners, preached fear instead of joy, the law instead of gospel. At Princeton Theological Seminary , Barth heard a sermon from Martin Luther King . In Washington, DC he met confidantes of US President John F. Kennedy . In New York City he met black civil rights activists , visited a prison and criticized: With a fraction of the cost of a moon flight one could humanize the whole judicial system of the USA. The narrow cage cells and other things contradict the message of the Statue of Liberty . Overall, Barth was enthusiastic about the trip and the openness of his conversation partners.

Barth closely followed changes in the Roman Catholic Church and praised Pope John XXIII. for his reform approaches. In 1963, Cardinal Augustin invited Bea Barth as an observer to the Second Vatican Council . He canceled due to illness, but kept himself informed about the course of the council. In 1966 he asked Bea to speak to him and prepared a catalog of questions. In September he traveled to Rome for a week and spoke to Bea, Karl Rahner , Joseph Ratzinger and Pope Paul VI, among others . He asked him about the meaning of the council formula fratres sejuncti ("separate brothers") for non-Catholic Christians. He then paid tribute to the fact that this Pope referred to himself in council texts only as "bishop, servant of the servants of God" and opposed the Vietnam War . He missed an analogous striving for reform in his own church, which should meanwhile sweep its own door. The Pope is not the Antichrist . In his report Ad Limina Apostolorum (1967) he criticized the fact that the Council Declaration Nostra aetate classifies Judaism as a "religion among religions" and does not contain any church confession of guilt towards the Jews and the Muslims for the crusades . In 1968 he wrote to the Pope that the recourse to natural law in the encyclical Humanae Vitae was incompatible with the Council's Revelation Constitution.

Family grave in the Hörnli cemetery

In an open letter in 1966, Barth asked whether the evangelical " No other gospel movement " also opposed the armament of the Bundeswehr with nuclear weapons, the Vietnam War in the USA, anti-Semitic desecrations of graves in West Germany, a peace treaty with the Eastern European states and the recognition of the borders that have existed since 1945 organize large public rallies. Only then is their “correct” confession also “right” and fruitful, otherwise it would be dead, cheap and hypocritical. In doing so , he showed solidarity with the West German student movement and once again made it clear that the Christian creed of its own accord necessarily includes certain current political party positions.

From May 1967 until his death, Barth maintained a pen friendship with the playwright Carl Zuckmayer . Several operations and lengthy hospital stays interrupted Barth's continued work at the KD, so that his main work remained unfinished. From 1966 to 1968 he was able to hold seminars again at the Basel theological faculty. His last theological utterance was about Israel . In November 1968 he said in one of his last interviews:

“The last word that I have to say as a theologian and also as a politician is not a term like 'grace', but is a name: Jesus Christ. It is grace, and it is the ultimate, beyond world and church and also from theology. We can't just 'catch' him. But we are dealing with him. What I have tried to do in my long life was increasingly to emphasize this name and to say: there ... There is also the drive to work, to fight, also to drive to community, to fellow human beings. There is everything I have tried in weakness and folly in my life. But there it is ... "

Barth and his family are buried in the Basel cemetery on the Hörnli .


For Barth's work see the



Barth received eleven honorary doctorates throughout his life:

Further honors:

Care of the plant

The Karl Barth Foundation was established in Basel in 1971 . Your goal is to publish Barth's printed and unpublished estate. A complete edition of 70 volumes without the KD is planned, which will take several decades. The current head of the Karl Barth Archive is Peter Zocher. The Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) has been awarding the Karl Barth Prize every two years since 1986 for an outstanding theological-scientific work. In 2015, the University of Basel and the Karl Barth Foundation founded the Karl Barth Center for Reformed Theology . The aim is "to keep the work of Karl Barth and his approach to Protestant Reformed theology present in teaching and research and to gain inspiration for theology, the church and society." The center organizes lectures and other activities on various occasions. The EKD is planning a Karl Barth year for 2019 .


Barth is considered the most influential Protestant theologian of the 20th century. He was the founder of Dialectical Theology, teacher of the Confessing Church, instigator of evangelical resistance against National Socialism, the reconciler of the peoples in the Cold War, who wanted to position the "Church between East and West" and encourage resolute cross-bloc resistance to rearmament , which should contribute to demilitarization and thus at the same time to the democratization of all of Europe.

His KD is “a huge work that cannot be compared with any other achievement in recent Protestant theology history” (Ernst Wolf). For Emil Brunner, Barth “gave the theology back its theme, which was about to get lost in the history and psychology of religion ... This breakthrough was achieved by none other than this powerful, vehement and ingenious spirit.”

Barth expert Michael Beintker registers a new openness for Barth's theology in the 21st century and points out that Barth also inspired well-known contemporary poets and writers or that his thinking converged with theirs. The theologian Michael Trowitzsch examined this literary reception of Barth in detail ( Karl Barth today , 2007).

Selected works

Important individual texts (referred to here)

  • Modern theology and imperial work of God. 1909
  • Christian Faith and History. 1910
  • Jesus Christ and the social movement. 1911
  • with Eduard Thurneysen: Find me and you will live. (Sermons) 1917
  • The new world in the Bible. 1917
  • The letter to the Romans . 1st edition 1919, 2nd, completely revised edition 1922
  • The Christian in society. 1919
  • The word of God as the task of theology. 1922
  • Christian dogmatics in the draft, volume 1: The doctrine of the word of God, Prolegomena. 1927
  • Quousque tandem? 1930
  • Fides quaerens intellectum. Anselm's proof of the existence of God in the context of his theological program. 1931
  • History of Protestant Theology. 1932
  • Church Dogmatics Vol. I / 1-IV / 4; 1932 ff.
  • The first commandment as a theological axiom. March 1933
  • Theological existence today. June 1933
  • No! Reply to Emil Brunner. 1934
  • Gospel and law. 1935
  • Justification and justice. June 1938
  • Letter to Josef Hromadka. September 1938
  • The Christian's defense and weapons. January 1940
  • Our Church and Switzerland today. February 1941
  • Christmas message to the Christians in Germany. December 1941
  • The Germans and we. January 1945
  • The intellectual prerequisites for rebuilding in the post-war period. May 1945
  • For the recovery of the German being - a word of friend from outside. 1945
  • Word to the Germans. November 1945
  • A Swiss voice. Political essays and letters 1938–1945. 1945
  • Christian community and civil community . 1946
  • with Hans Joachim Iwand : Darmstädter Wort. 1947
  • Human disorder and God's plan of salvation. 1948
  • Speech on Memorial Day. 1954
  • Letter to Mozart. 1956
  • The humanity of God. 1956
  • It's about life! Good Friday. 1957
  • Letter to a pastor in the GDR. 1958
  • Liberate the prisoners! Sermons. 1959
  • The idol wobbles. Time-critical essays, speeches and letters from 1930 to 1960. 1961
  • Introduction to Protestant theology. 1962
  • Ad Limina Apostolorum. 1967
  • Fiat Justice! 1968



  • Hans-Anton Drewes, Hans Markus Wildi (Hrsg.): Bibliography Karl Barth Volume 1: Publications by Karl Barth. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 1984, ISBN 3-290-11552-6 .
  • Jakob M Osthof, Hans A Drewes, Hans Markus Wildi (eds.): Bibliography Karl Barth Volume 2: Publications about Karl Barth. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 1992, ISBN 3-290-11552-6 .
  • Gerhard Sauter : Works on Karl Barth. In: Annunciation and Research. Volume 46, Issue 1, pp. 88-92, ISSN 0342-2410, DOI 10.14315 / vf-2001-0220.


Individual biographical aspects

  • Michael Beintker , Georg Plasger, Michael Trowitzsch (eds.): Karl Barth as a teacher of reconciliation (1950–1968). Deepening - opening - hope. Contributions to the International Symposium from May 1st to 4th, 2014 in the Johannes a Lasco Library Emden. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2016, ISBN 978-3-290-17833-8 .
  • Michael Beintker, Christian Link , Michael Trowitzsch (eds.): Karl Barth in contemporary European events (1935–1950). Resistance - probation - orientation. Contributions to the International Symposium from May 1st to 4th, 2008 in the Johannes a Lasco Library Emden. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2010, ISBN 3-290-17531-6 .
  • Michael Beintker, Christian Link, Michael Trowitzsch (eds.): Karl Barth in Germany (1921–1935). Departure - clarification - resistance. Contributions to the International Symposium from May 1st to 4th, 2003 in the Johannes a Lasco Library Emden. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-290-17344-5 .
  • Eberhard Busch : My time with Karl Barth. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 3-525-56001-X .
  • Eberhard Busch: The Karl Barth files: censorship and surveillance in the name of Swiss neutrality 1938-1945. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2008, ISBN 3-290-17458-1 .
  • Fritz Graf: 100 years of the Freie Gymnasium Bern 1859–1959 , Bern 1959.
  • Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth. A biographical and theological history study. (1998) Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-290-17242-2 .
  • Karl Kupisch : Karl Barth in self-testimonies and picture documents. (1971) 2nd edition, Verlag JF Steinkopf , Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-7984-0334-1 .
  • Hans Prolingheuer: The case of Karl Barth, 1934-1935: Chronography of a displacement. 2nd edition, Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1984, ISBN 3-7887-0761-5 .

Theology (selection; for KD see Church Dogmatics # Literature )

  • Eberhard Busch: Starting with the beginning: Stations on Karl Barth's theological path. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2019, ISBN 3-290-18206-1 .
  • Martin Böger: Dionysus versus the crucified ... Karl Barth's Nietzsche reception in the debate about being and the destiny of man . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-8471-0924-2 .
  • Werner Thiede (Ed.): Karl Barths Theologie der Kris heute: Transfer attempts on the 50th anniversary of death , Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2018, ISBN 3-374-05632-6 .
  • Ralf Frisch: All good: Why Karl Barth's theology still has its best time ahead of it. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2018, ISBN 3-290-18172-3 .
  • Michael Beintker (Ed.): Barth Handbook. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2016, ISBN 3-16-150077-6 .
  • Michael Beintker, Georg Plasger, Michael Trowitzsch (eds.): Karl Barth as a teacher of reconciliation (1950–1968). Deepening - opening - hope. Contributions to the International Symposium from May 1st to 4th, 2014 in the Johannes a Lasco Library Emden. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2016, ISBN 3-290-17833-1 .
  • Mark R. Lindsay: Reading Auschwitz with Barth: The Holocaust as Problem and Promise for Barthian Theology. Pickwick, Princeton 2014, ISBN 1-61097-273-2 .
  • Michael Beintker: Crisis and Grace. Collected studies on Karl Barth. Stefan Holtmann, Peter Zocher (Eds.), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2013, ISBN 3-16-152498-5 .
  • Michael Weinrich : The modest uncompromisingness of Karl Barth's theology. Lasting impulses for the renewal of theology. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 3-525-56407-4 .
  • Michael Trowitzsch: Karl Barth today. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 3-525-57123-2 .
  • Bruce L. McCormack: Theological Dialectics and Critical Realism: Origin and Development of Karl Barth's Theology 1909-1936. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-290-17395-X .
  • Eberhard Busch: The great passion. Introduction to the theology of Karl Barth. Christian Kaiser, Gütersloh 1998, ISBN 3-579-00408-5 .
  • Eberhard Busch: Under the bow of the one covenant: Karl Barth and the Jews 1933–1945. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1996, ISBN 3-643-13672-2 .
  • Herbert Anzinger: Faith and Communicative Practice. A study on the 'pre-dialectical' theology of Karl Barth. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 1995, ISBN 3-579-01907-4 .
  • Bertold Klappert : Reconciliation and Liberation. Try to understand Karl Barth contextually. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1994, ISBN 3-7887-1451-4 .
  • Eberhard Busch: Karl Barth and the Pietists. The young Karl Barth's criticism of pietism and its reply. Christian Kaiser, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-459-01165-3 .
  • Eberhard Jüngel : Barth studies. Mohr-Siebeck TB, 1982, ISBN 3-16-148220-4 .
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar : Karl Barth. Presentation and interpretation of his theology. 4th edition, Johannes-Verlag, Freiburg 1976, ISBN 3-89411-062-7 .
  • Hans Küng : Justification. The teachings of Karl Barth and a Catholic reflection. With a letter of passage from Karl Barth. (1957) Piper, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-492-24039-9 .
  • Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer : The triumph of grace in the theology of Karl Barth. Publishing house of the bookstore of the educational association, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1957.

Politics and Contemporary History

  • Marco Hofheinz: "It is our peace": Karl Barth's christological foundation of the ethics of peace in conversation with John Howard Yoder. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 3-525-56410-4
  • Wolf Krötke : Karl Barth and «Communism»: Experiences with a theology of freedom in the GDR. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2013, ISBN 3-290-17668-1
  • Michael Trowitzsch, Martin Leiner (ed.): Karl Barth's theology as a European event. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 3-525-56964-5
  • Sabine Plonz: The masterless powers: A re-reading of Karl Barth from a liberation theological perspective. Matthias Grünewald Verlag, 1995, ISBN 3-7867-1880-6
  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt : Theology and Socialism. The example of Karl Barth. 3rd edition, Christian Kaiser, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-459-01626-4 .
  • George Hunsinger: Karl Barth and Liberation Theology. Journal of Religion Volume 63/3, University of Chicago Press, 1983, pp. 247-263
  • Peter Winzeler: Resisting Theology. Karl Barth 1920–1935. Alektor, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-88425-022-1
  • Ulrich Dannemann: Theology and Politics in Karl Barth's Thinking. Christian Kaiser, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-459-01117-3
  • Helmut Gollwitzer : Kingdom of God and Socialism with Karl Barth. Christian Kaiser, Munich 1972, ISBN 3-9522759-5-6
  • Daniel Cornu: Karl Barth and politics: contradiction and freedom. Aussaat Verlag, Wuppertal 1969.

Web links

Commons : Karl Barth  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Beard texts

Barth research

Single topics

Media reception

Individual evidence

  1. Georg Pfleiderer: A Church Father of the 20th Century? In: Journal for Culture, Politics, Church, Volume 48. Verein Reformatio, 1999, p. 209
  2. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 13–33
  3. ^ Graf 1959, p. 208.
  4. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 33–40
  5. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 40–58
  6. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 58–64
  7. ^ A b Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 65–73
  8. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 74–77, 95–98 and 116
  9. a b Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 79–88
  10. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 89–93 and p. 444, fn. 92
  11. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, p. 93
  12. ^ Eberhard Busch: Karl Barth's curriculum vitae. 1975, p. 94.
  13. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, p. 94f.
  14. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, p. 448, fn. 24
  15. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 99-102
  16. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 103-108
  17. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 108–112
  18. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 133–148
  19. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth. Munich 2018, pp. 113–131.
  20. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth. Munich 2018, pp. 163–169.
  21. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 207–216
  22. ^ Paul Silas Peterson: The Early Karl Barth: Historical Contexts and Intellectual Formation 1905-1935. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2018, ISBN 3-16-155360-8 , p. 199
  23. Michael Weinrich: The modest uncompromising theology of Karl Barth , Göttingen 2013, p. 397
  24. Sabine Plonz: Barth: Religious socialism as dialectical theology. In: Matthias Casper, Karl Gabriel, Hans-Richard Reuter: Critique of Capitalism in Christianity: Positions and Discourses in the Weimar Republic and the early Federal Republic. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 3-593-50577-0 , pp. 97f.
  25. a b Martin Greschat: In dealing with National Socialism. In: Michael Beintker (Ed.): Barth Handbook. Tübingen 2016, p. 430.
  26. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth. Munich 2018, pp. 216–220.
  27. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 189–193
  28. ^ A b Letter to Charlotte von Kirschbaum dated February 28, 1926. In: Briefwechsel Barth - von Kirschbaum I , 2008, pp. 23, 25, 27
  29. Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth , Zurich 2004, p. 20
  30. ^ Barth: Complete edition. V / 34, 2000, pp. 390, 36.
  31. Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth , Zurich 2004, p. 6
  32. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 194 and 200
  33. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 200–203
  34. a b Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth , Zurich 2004, p. 215
  35. Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth , Zurich 2004, p. 217
  36. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, p. 200f.
  37. Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth , Zurich 2004, p. 27
  38. Suzanne Selinger: Charlotte von Kirschbaum and Karl Barth , Zurich 2004, pp. 228–230
  39. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 222–227
  40. ^ Hans Prolingheuer: The case of Karl Barth , Neukirchen-Vluyn 1984, p. 7.
  41. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 239–242
  42. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 248–255
  43. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 256–259
  44. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 259–272
  45. Lucius Kratzert: "Friend, let's think spiritually and just as real!" Barth's dispute over the theology issue with Swiss liberal theology around 1935 . In: Theologische Zeitschrift (Basel), vol. 70 (2014), pp. 193–207.
  46. Martin Greschat: In dealing with National Socialism. In: Michael Beintker (Ed.): Barth Handbuch , Tübingen 2016, p. 432 f.
  47. Léon Poliakov , Joseph Wulf: The Third Reich and its thinkers. Ullstein, 1996, ISBN 3-548-33038-X , p. 249 ; Kurt Dietrich Schmidt (Ed.): The Confessions and Basic Statements on the Church Question in 1933. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1938, pp. 98-102; cited in Christiane Tietz, Karl Barth , p. 493, fn. 47
  48. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 273–283
  49. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 283–285
  50. Wolf Kötke: Theology and resistance in Karl Barth. In: Michael Beintker, Christian Link (ed.): Karl Barth in Deutschland (1921–1935) , Zurich 2005, p. 135
  51. ^ Walter Kreck: The political commitment of Karl Barth. In: Blätter für deutsche und Internationale Politik Volume 31, Cologne 1986, pp. 577–591, here p. 582
  52. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 290–294
  53. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 285–287; Quote p. 287
  54. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 287–291
  55. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 294–297
  56. Martin Greschat: In dealing with National Socialism. In: Michael Beintker (Ed.): Barth Handbook. Tübingen 2016, p. 434f.
  57. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 297–299
  58. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 303–307
  59. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 307-314
  60. ^ Eberhard Busch: Karl Barths biography , Berlin 1975, pp. 282, 286 and 289f.
  61. Martin Greschat: In dealing with National Socialism. In: Michael Beintker (Ed.): Barth Handbook. Tübingen 2016, p. 435f.
  62. Otto Roos: 1944, plaster bust. Retrieved September 30, 2019 .
  63. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, p. 314f.
  64. ^ Herbert Crüger: Secret times. From the secret apparatus of the KPD to the state security prison. Links Druck, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-86153-002-3 , p. 124.
  65. ^ Eberhard Busch: Karl Barth's curriculum vitae. 1975, p. 337.
  66. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 33–40
  67. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 327–331
  68. Bertold Klappert: Hear and do the word of reconciliation! Karl Barth's impetus for the 'Darmstädter Wort' in 1947. In: Bertold Klappert: Reconciliation and Liberation , Neukirchen-Vluyn 1994, pp. 216–228
  69. ^ Bautz: Barth, Karl . 1990, columns 384-396.
  70. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 333-340
  71. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 341–344
  72. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 344–348
  73. Bertold Klappert: The resurrection of Jesus and the revolt against the futile. Karl Barth's statements on war and mass destruction. (1984) In: Bertold Klappert: Reconciliation and Liberation , Neukirchen-Vluyn 1994, pp. 252–284
  74. Andreas Permien: Protestantism and rearmament from 1950 to 1955. The criticism in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and the Evangelical Church of Westphalia on Adenauer's rearmament policy. Two regional case studies. Rheinland-Verlag, 1994, ISBN 3-7927-1422-1 , p. 155
  75. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 364–368
  76. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 391–396
  77. Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, pp. 405–408
  78. ^ Philip J. Rosato: Karl Barth's Influence on Catholic Theology. In: George Hunsinger (Ed.): Karl Barth: Post-Holocaust Theologian? T & T Clark, 2018, ISBN 978-0-567-67705-1 , p. 104
  79. Georg Pfleiderer: On the ecumenical potential of the religion-critical theology of Karl Barth. In: Susanne Hennecke (Hrsg.): Karl Barth and the religion (s): Explorations in the world religions and the ecumenical movement. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8471-0899-3 , p. 363
  80. ^ Christiane Tietz: Karl Barth , Munich 2018, p. 409
  81. Dieter Andresen: Humanism of God: Contributions to theological identity and discourse-capable Christianity. LIT, Münster 2017, ISBN 3-643-13672-2 , p. 368f.
  82. Hinrich Stoevesandt (Ed.): Late friendship in letters. Correspondence with Carl Zuckmayer. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 1977, ISBN 978-3-290-11386-5 .
  83. ^ Karl Barth: Last certificates. EVZ, Zurich, 1970/2, p. 30f.
  84. ^ Eberhard Busch: Karl Barth's curriculum vitae. 1975, p. 399.
  85. Karl Barth Foundation and Archive
  86. ^ Karl Barth Archive, CH-4059 Basel
  87. ↑ The Protestant Church celebrates Karl Barth Year in 2019. Evangelical Press Service (epd), June 20, 2018
  88. ^ Emil Brunner: Dogmatik Volume 3: The Christian doctrine of the church, of faith and of perfection. Zwingli-Verlag, 1960, p. 245.
  89. Michael Beintker: Effect and Reception - At the Beginning of the 21st Century. In: Michael Beintker (Ed.): Barth Handbook. Tübingen 2016, p. 466f.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on April 20, 2005 .