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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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