Throughout his life and after his death, the theology of Karl Barth (1886-1968) has provoked vigorous discussion and engagement. From the initial responses to his work in German-speaking Europe, through its dissemination and reception in the English-speaking North Atlantic world, to its current impact on various forms of intellectual reflection, Barth's work has exercised a constant, often remarkable, influence on academic, ecclesial, and public discourse. (For more information on Barth and his legacy see this video by Tom Greggs).

Barth in Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen has a unique concentration of Barth scholars, with staff teaching courses and supervising projects relating both to the work of Barth itself and to the relationship of Barth to other theologians and discourses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Divinity Department also hosts and sponsors various events and activities related to the theology of Barth, including conferences, lectures, and seminars. The Aberdeen University Library holds the David Lewis collection of Karl Barth literature.  

Staff

We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work on Barth at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.

Professor Tom Greggs: Tom Greggs is interested in constructive appropriations of Barth’s theology. His work on Barth has three focuses: first Barth’s method as a historian of theology, and how theological approaches to historical theology might be conceived; second, drawing the theology of Karl Barth into dialogue other thinkers (especially from the patristic, modern and post-modern era); and third, relating Barth’s work to contemporary issues in systematic and public theologies, particularly ecclesiology, pluralism and inter-faith issues, universal salvation, and the critique of religion.

Professor Paul Nimmo: Paul Nimmo has published widely on the work of Karl Barth. His first monograph, Being in Action, explores the relationship between ontology and ethics in the Church Dogmatics and won a John Templeton Award for Theological Promise. His second monograph, Karl Barth and the Eucharist, will seek to think with and after Barth on a theology of the Lord’s Supper (and is scheduled for publication in 2017). A Fellow of the Center for Barth Studies and a member of the Karl Barth Translation Seminar, Nimmo has also published research articles on various doctrines in Barth’s theology, and is currently writing the T&T Clarke Guide for the Perplexed on Karl Barth and co-editing with Paul Dafydd Jones the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth.

Dr Donald Wood: Donald Wood has sought to draw attention to Barth as a reader of scripture, exploring both Barth’s conception of the task of scriptural interpretation and the patterns of exegetical reasoning in Barth’s commentarial and doctrinal writing. In doing so, he has developed a particular interest in Barth’s earlier work: he is currently preparing a study of Barth’s Römerbrief, and has written more broadly on doctrinal and ethical themes in Barth’s writing from the 1920s.

Professor Phillip Ziegler: Philip Ziegler’s interests include Barth’s theology in the context of the development of modern Protestant theology (especially in relation to the German Church Struggle of the 1930s); Barth’s contributions to our understanding of theological method; Barth’s Christology and ecclesiology; and his contributions to the fundaments of political theology and theological ethics. His research also traces the continued reception and influence of Barth’s theology in Europe and North America; his work on the German theologian Wolf Krötke, and the American Reformed theologian and ethicist Paul L. Lehmann are indicative of this. He serves as the General Secretary of the Karl Barth Society of North America.

PGR Students

Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:

  • John (Trey) Brennan, Barth and Phenomenology
  • Aaron Edwards, Dialectics and Preaching
  • Michael Forth, Transcendence, Immanence, and Mediation in the Theology of Karl Barth
  • Tyler Frick, Reconsidering the Divine Attributes in the Theology of Karl Barth in Light of the Doctrine of Election
  • Sam Ip, Theology of Testimony (with reference to Barth)
  • DJ Konz, Father, Child and Missio Dei (with reference to Barth) 
  • Jennifer LoPresti, Mystery in Barth and T.F. Torrance
  • Trevor Martindale, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Edward Irving and Karl Barth 
  • Daniel McDowell, The Holy Spirit in the Work of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Karl Barth

 In addition, there are several publications by recently graduated PhD students:

Publications

The following are some selected publications engaging or drawing on Barth by staff at the University of Aberdeen:

Professor Tom Greggs

Professor Paul Nimmo

Dr Donald Wood

  • “An Extraordinarily Acute Embarrassment”: The Doctrine of Angels in Barth’s Göttingen Dogmatics’. Scottish Journal of Theology 66.3 (2013), pp. 319-337.
  • Barth’s Epistle to the Romans 1922. New York: T&T Clark, forthcoming. (in preparation)
  • Barth’s Theology of Interpretation. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.
  • 'Essays on the hermeneutics of Römerbrief and Church Dogmatics I', in O. Wischmeyer, ed., Handbuch der Bibelhermeneutiken (Berlin: de Gruyter, forthcoming) (in preparation)
  • “This Ability: Barth on the Concrete Freedom of Human Life”, in B Brock & J Swinton (eds), Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.

Professor Philip Ziegler

  • “Barth's Criticisms of Kierkegaard—A Striking Out at Phantoms?” International Journal of Systematic Theology 9:4 (October 2007), pp. 434-451.
  • “Christian Theology and Democratic Politics in Conversation with Jeffrey Stout,” Theology Today 63:2 (July 2006), pp. 227-234.
  • “Doing Conscience Over: The Reformulation of the Doctrine of Conscience in Karl Barth and Paul Lehmann,” Toronto Journal of Theology 14:2 (1998), pp. 213-238.
  • Doing Theology When God is Forgotten—The Theological Achievement of Wolf Krötke (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2006).
  • Wolf Krötke, Sin and Nothingness in the Theology of Karl Barth. Edited and translated by P.G. Ziegler and C.-M. Bammel. Studies in Reformed Theology and History, New Series 10, 2005. (The full text of this work is freely available online here).
Links

Some helpful links for further information and resources on Barth's theology and Barth studies include: