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Barth, Karl Barth(noun)
Swiss Protestant theologian (1886-1968)
Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian. Barth is often regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century. His influence expanded well beyond the academic realm to mainstream culture, leading him to be featured on the cover of Time on April 20, 1962. Beginning with his experience as a pastor, Barth rejected his training in the predominant liberal theology typical of 19th-century European Protestantism as well conservative Christian fundamentalism. Instead he embarked on a new theological path initially called dialectical theology, due to its stress on the paradoxical nature of divine truth. Other critics have referred to Barth as the father of neo-orthodoxy — a term emphatically rejected by Barth himself. The most accurate description of his work might be "a theology of the Word." Barth's work had a major impact on twentieth century theology and figures such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Torrance, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jacques Ellul, Jurgen Moltmann, Stanley Hauerwas, and the novelist John Updike. Both the most prolific and influential theologian of the twentieth century, his theological thought emphasized the sovereignty of God, particularly through his reinterpretation of the Calvinistic doctrine of election, the sinfulness of humanity, and the "infinite qualitative distinction between God and mankind". His most famous works are his The Epistle to the Romans, which marked a clear break from his earlier thinking; and his massive thirteen-volume work Church Dogmatics, one of the largest works of systematic theology ever written.
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