This Can’t Be, Can It?

OK, so I’ve read the five posts on this ΨΕΥΔΟΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ blog that Esteban linked to, and I suspect that there’s something silly going on, but what shocked me was this quote from Karl Barth (or Carlos Barth as the author calls him) on the most recent post:

Yes, our Childship is occurrence, and as such it is the answer to that insoluble riddle of our existence which religion finally propounds. […] Dissolved also is that embarrassment which everything finite imposes on infinity. Dissolved also is that untrustworthy complacency which clings to bourgeois affirmations and that precarious vagabondage which is the product of the poisons of human negation. […] The Spirit of Childship, this new person who I am not, is my unobservable, existential EGO. (Der Römerbrief, 296-97. Language altered to eliminate Barth’s obvious hatred of women)

I thought to myself, “such nonsense can’t be accurate, can it?”  Well, this happens to be the one Barth book that I own (OUP, 1968 edition) and upon checking the reference on pp. 296-297, I learned that Barth actually said these things!  Although he said “Sonship” and “man” where Jürgen Hauerwas has “Childship” and “person.”  Obviously the ellipses in brackets tell us that portions were left out, but when I read these statements in context I didn’t find them any more comprehensible.  This is causing me to rethink the nature of this blog.  If Barth, who many consider to be the greatest theologian of the 20th century could write like this, then maybe the author of this blog is serious in the way that he writes. 

What do you think?


14 thoughts on “This Can’t Be, Can It?

  1. You know, I think he/she might be serious, but writing under a pseudonym. I mean, it just sounds so much like other blogs of that type out there, that it’s hard to tell if it’s a spoof or not!

  2. Hahaha yeah when I checked it out I wasn’t sure it was a joke or not. I’m still not sure (after reading all the posts) if there was anything of note said or not.

  3. Esteban: I thought something similar. And after looking at the blogroll, I really think that (s)he might be for real.

    Bryan: This is true.

    Damian: I’m undecided at the moment, but I’ll keep checking to see if anything in the future has me leaning one way or the other.

  4. Surely the title ΨΕΥΔΟΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ is a giveaway of a spoof, as is the blogger’s location “Tübingen, North Carolina”. Indeed this reminds me so much of N.T. Wrong‘s claim to be “the Free Universalist Interfaith Bishop of Durham, North Carolina” that I discern some link. (But there really is a Durham in NC, but not a Tübingen as far as I can tell.) Not by the same person, I think, as I can’t imagine even N.T. being as wrong-headed as to shift from WordPress to Blogger, but maybe ΨΕΥΔΟΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ is intended as a spoof on the not-so-good bishop.

  5. Peter: That’s what I thought originally, but like I said, when I checked this Barth reference and learned it was real I began to question just how much of a spoof this blog really is. Barth seems to be as incoherent as this person. The be quite honest the blog isn’t all that different from most of the theoblogs I’ve come across over the last year. Perhaps they’re all spoofs.

  6. Maybe Barth was really writing a satire of theology the whole time but nobody realized it. Maybe he was punking all the future theologians and wannabe theologians who would come after him and spend all their time debating what he said and writing books, articles and blog posts about his theology.

    Man, if he did that he’s frickin’ awesome!!!

    Bryan EL

  7. Maybe someday people will catch on to what a huge waste Barthianism really is.

    About a month ago, I had a good laugh with a friend over how Barthians typically all agree that a given Barthian passage is right, even before they come to any agreement over what it’s really saying!

    What is it about people that makes them act like that? I think that Barthianism presents us with the ultimate example of modern theology becoming little more than a personality cult.

  8. I guess “Jürgen Hauerwas” is theologically literate (so he understands Barth) and deliberately chose an excessively obscure passage to mock Barth and other theologians.

    But I can’t help wondering if this blog is in fact a spoof. An apparent theological heavyweight on the obscure doctrine of the Trinity who is a Pentecostal unmarried father, begs for books, loves rap and, although white himself, has close links with the Nation of Islam? That combination is so absurd that it must be a spoof. Or perhaps it is too absurd even for a spoof and so must be true!

  9. John: I doubt that people will ever catch on to how much of a waste Barthianism really is. If they did then I suspect Princeton Theological Seminary would go out of business.

    Peter: I don’t find that combination particularly absurd at all. ;)

    But for the record, I’m black enough for the NOI. I’m 50% Puerto Rican and 50% Italian (from So. Italy & Sicily), and according to the NOI if you have even a “drop of original blood” then you are the “original man.”

  10. Well, I’m sure I can find a “drop of original blood” or two in my British (and one-eighth Afrikaans I think) ancestry somewhere. They say there was no colour bar in the Roman Empire so there must be a few droplets remaining from then.

    Ah well, at least I can now say I have one black blogger (as well as one Asian) on my reading list – though in fact I don’t know or care the official colour of a number of them.

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