What it means that FQI is the key to the KD

More intus legere -- intellection as "deep reading" -- brings me to the point at which I can accept Barth's own word that writing Fides quaerens intellectum was the key to allowing him to write dogmatics properly. It is, as I said, a book he had to get done first. The Christian Dogmatics is Anselmian, but it is also profoundly involved in making the distinction between natural theology and revealed theology. All this stuff about proving the necessity of faith, when once he had done the Anselm work, he could see clear to calling it Church Dogmatics. This move makes it align with his entire theological thrust from Romans on: the work of theology is done from faith, inside the church, as the task of those who are doing it. It is not a task that can stand apart from belief that its object exists. The argument for faith is not a valid prolegomenon to dogmatics, which presume it, and dogmatics cannot be done without faith. All the wrestling of Barth's first two attempts bring him to the necessity that he acknowledges in his own ecclesiological critique in chapters 9-11 of Romans. This is always an inside job, and always therefore self-criticism as much as it is directed at others who are within the church. It cannot be an outside job. As in Calvin, natural theology is a job to be done after belief, as the demonstration of how the God whom we know by revelation, and who is wholly other, is also revealed in creation. It is by no means fit to stand as prolegomenon, as the bridge to revealed theology.

This is what Lindbeck means when he says his theology is fundamentally Barthian in The Nature of Doctrine, and it is why intratextuality and the communal nature of language are so key to his understanding of religion. Theology is an inside job, and to be done right, presumes the knowledge of the community to whom the religion is internal.


Popular Posts