Glory and Ecclesial Growth in Karl Barth's Church Dogmatic

Starkenburg, Keith Edward, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Matthewes, Charles, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This study identifies the doctrine of glory as a means by which Karl Barth accounts for the attractive power of divine activity, especially in relationship to the Christian community. For Barth, the Christian community is drawn into its own growth - defined as numerical increase and the expansion of the church's worship - because God invests God's triune glory in Jesus Christ, in the Christian community, and in the entirety of creation. I argue this thesis through an analysis of Karl Barth's magnum opus, the Church Dogmatics. First, the dissertation considers Barth's doctrine of glory within his doctrine of God, analyzing the basic categories Barth delineates in his doctrine of glory. My analysis of Barth's doctrine of God illustrates that his doctrine of glory acts as a substructure after its introduction in II/1 of the Church Dogmatics. I argue that Barth's doctrine of election utilizes the concepts of glory in order to make sense of how Jesus Christ initiates and participates in the divine decision to create, restore and perfect the creation. Second, the dissertation considers how the doctrine of glory establishes a substructure in Barth's doctrine of reconciliation. Just as in Barth's doctrine of election, the substructure of glory allows Barth to account for the attractive and enabling power of the resurrection in and through the Christian community's activity, especially its growth. I conclude that this study challenges interpretations which detect an opposition between ontology and revelation in Barth's work. I also conclude that this study warrants reconsiderations of Barth's theology of the Holy Spirit and his status as a liturgical theologian.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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