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Pestering my Barthian Teacher

This e-mail is OLD: however, it represents my first interest in Barth, and a request for a class exclusively on Karl Barth, which (perhaps because of my pestering) finally came to fruition in 2011.

Dear Dave,I am not sure whether this e-mail will catch you before your sabbatical. If so, I was intending to inject a thought into your mind, to mull over for a while.

My thought is this: why not write a new elective for Briercrest, called « An introduction to Barthian Theology. »

I say this because I feel like I am continually behind the 8-ball, so to speak, because I am not more familliar with Barth. For one thing, nearly all of my theology papers – graded by you or anyone else – come back with variations of the comment « very good…but if you would just consider THIS aspect of Barth’s theology, it would make all the difference…. » Also, most of the modern theology texts I read  use Barth extensively, and I feel that if I graduate without being able to do the same, there will be a significant lack in my education.

Of course I COULD pick up Barth and start reading…but I honestly do not have time for such « hobby-reading. » Also, I doubt that I would know where to start, and would never get to the real meat of his theology, in the same way as I would in an actual class.

To me, there does not seem to be a reason why the school should NOT dedicate a class to him. After all, we study the patristics, the Reformers, and modern scholars. From what I hear, Barthian theology is something of a fourth era of theology – « the wave of the future » (if you will allow the sci-fi lingo into theological dialog!). This being said, it is strange that a school such as Briercrest does NOT offer classes on his work, life and thoughts directly, and only allows their students indirect acces to him, as he intersects with various topics.

I know that such a class would be a massive undertaking: however, I have heard light-hearted comments about you adopting Barth as your patron saint, and you certainly seem to enjoy reading him. So you seem like a likely candidate to teach this class. Likely it would be massively enjoyable and beneficial both to yourself and to your students.

Think about it.

Enjoy your time off!!

– Josiah

PS – Thank you for your kind words on my paper. They have deeply encouraged me!

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