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Deconstructing Barth

A Study of the Complementary Methods in Karl Barth and Jacques Derrida


Isolde Andrews

This original and perceptive study draws out the relevance of Jacques Derrida's thought about deconstruction, différance and the gift for Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics. These are particularly important for apprehending Barth's doctrine of salvation, which is the particular focus of this book. Derrida's insights are also shown to illuminate the way in which Barth speaks of complex events such as revelation which cannot be thematised by rational thought. This significant interpretation of Karl Barth indicates his affinity with postmodern thought. It will be of interest to those who are studying the relationship between theology and postmodernism, particularly the complex borders between the thematisable and non-thematisable.


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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The System Which Is Not A System 1. Introduction 19 2. Karl Barth and Jacques Derrida 19 3. The Relationship between Barth and Derrida 22 4. The Challenge of Barth and Derrida's Thought to Their Contemporary Thought Worlds 23 4.1 The Challenge of Barth's Theological Thought 23 4.2 The Challenge of Derrida's Philosophical Thought 25 4.3 The Point of Contact between Barth and Derrida 27 5. The Problem of a "System which is not a System" for Contemporary Thought 29 5.1 Consideration of the Problem of the Idea of a "System which is not a System" 29 5.2 Barth and the "System not a System" 30 5.3 Derrida and the "System not a System" 33 5.4 Neither Barth nor Derrida Reject the Systems of Thought They Criticise 35 5.5 Is the Premise of a System that is not a System a Valid Way of Doing Theology or Philosophy? 36 6. Problems with Understanding and Interpreting Barth's Theological Thought 37 6. I An Outline of the Difficulties 37 6.2 How the Standard Works on Barth Interpret His Thought 38 6.2.1 Von Balthasar and Barth 38 6.2.2 Torrance and Barth 39 6.2.3 Berkouwer and Barth 41 6.2.4 Hunsinger and Barth 42 7. Barth's Understanding of His "System which is not a System" 43 8. More Recent Studies on Barth's Textuality 46 8.1 David Ford's Study of Barth's Writing 46 8.2 George Lindbeck's Study of Barth's Writing 47 8.3 Stephen Webb's Study of Barth's Writing 47 8.4 The Three Studies Considered...

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