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Deconstructing Barth

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

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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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Chapter V: Barth's Economy Of Salvation (II) 171

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CHAPTER V BARTH'S ECONOMY OF SALVATION (II) 1. Introduction Chapter IV indicated how Barth's understanding of salvation involves the excess of non-meaning. Non-meaning is that which eludes systematic philosophical, scientific and theological thought. The salvific action of God in Christ is just such an example of non-meaning. In the reading of C. D. IV. I, Barth's use of hyperbolic and oxymoronic language showed how human meanings of words burst apart under the strain of attempting to define the excess of non-meaning. The aim of this chapter is to draw out his understanding of salvation as the excess of non-meaning, in volumes II and III of his Doctrine of Reconciliation. 1 How can that which is completely other to human knowing save the lives of human beings? First of all, I take up Barth's exposition of the "Direction of the Son" 2 - the Royal Man or the power from outside human experience by which human beings are said to be saved. 2. The Direction of the Son in Barth 2.1 Preliminary Remarks "The Direction of the Son" comes at the end of Barth's basic Christological discussion in C.D. /V.2 that was considered in Chapter IV. Barth opens his remarks by saying that he is going to ask about the meaning or "better power" of the existence of the one man Jesus Christ who, as the Son of God, became also the Son of Man. 3 He goes on to ask what the power of Jesus Christ is for other men,...

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