When I read Barth I feel like this:
And then I read Barthians and I feel like doing this:
At which point I’m like:
Funny! Even if I disagree (about Barth, not necessarily many Barthians).
Rick: It’s just that I find myself wanting to dive into Barth’s theology and then when I try I find it’s impenetrable!
How come there is such a fascination with Barth among evangelicals? I find Tillich and Rahner far more stimulating than Barth.
Richard: I’ve avoided Tillich up until this point and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. I have it on good authority that he’s severely overrated. That said, I think Barth is overrated as well, but he’s worth my time. Rahner’s okay too.
I am not sure Tillich is overrated, he still speaks into our current climate. I would definitely recommend a read of John Maquarrie. Keith Ward’s material is also useful.
Isn’t it a bit of a contradiction to say “I have it on good authority that X is overrated”? By definition, the “good authority” ( GA)has lowered the rating on X, and since you have not read X, you have to accept the rating of GA.
Suppose GA says Joe’s Diner is a two star restaurant, and you believe GA. Then, you accept GA’s rating of two stars. If you say that Joe’s Diner is overrated, then you are rejecting GA.
It seems the only way you could have on FA that X is overrated is if someone said to you: “X is good, but this statement is a lie.” However, this is veering dangerously close to the Liar’s Paradox (a subject about which the historical Theophrastus — from whom I take my web moniker — wrote three scrolls and even Scripture touches on: see Titus 1:12).
I could argue with you about Tillich, but I don’t think I would convince you, so instead I will quote you something that appears in David Novak’s book Talking With Christians — about the relationship between Paul Tillich and one of his most significant intellectual influences, Martin Buber:
I heard [this story] from someone who was in attendance at a lecture [Martin] Buber delivered at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1952, during his first visit to America, a visit that made a profound impression on American intellectual circles. At the end of the lecture, Buber indicated that he would entertain questions from the audience. From the back of the crowded lecture hall, Paul Tillich arose and quite respectfully (as was his usual manner) addressed a rather complicated question to Buber. According to my reliable informant, Buber looked up from his text and said, “Ah, Paulus, it is you.” The he walked down the aisle and stood directly in front of Tillich, who was considerably taller than he, raised his index finger up at Tillich’s startled face and said, “Paulus, Paulus, you asked me the same question in Germany thirty years ago. Don’t you remember what I answered you then?!”
Richard: I’ve read some of Ward’s stuff. I like him well enough.
Pingback: Paul Tillich asks Martin Buber a question | BLT
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