Monday, May 01, 2006

A huge thanks to Jim West! Die Kirchliche Dogmatik have arrived!

One day while engaging in our almost daily chatter via Instant Messenger, I was sharing with my good friend Jim West the reasons why I had to postpone my purchase of Barth’s Church Dogmatics. However much I wanted to read them, my dreams were running against financial reality (read ‘wife’ and ‘conscience’ – sometimes synonyms when it comes to books) with a thud. You may remember some of my demented posting along this line in January.

Now, some of us already know that Jim is a generous guy as he has posted to Ben Myers, of Faith and Theology, among other things, his entire collection of Jüngel books.

However, what happened next caught us all of guard. The very next day Jim had posted his entire set of Barth’s Kirchliche Dogmatik (study edition) to me in the post! Needles to say, I was stunned. Utterly. And gratefully.

Feeling like birthday, Christmas, Easter, breakfast, dinner and lunch were all happening at once, I was getting very excited. And with some difficulty I have resisted spilling the beans for weeks now – I thought I’d wait till they arrived first. And arrived they have, in absolutely wonderful condition, and here they are, all neatly on my shelf awaiting my loving attention!

But both Jim and I have been wringing our hands at the incompetence of the various postal services, as they were sent, get this, on the 7th of February! Yep, almost a quarter of a year before they showed up! Gladly Jim managed to track the package down and received an explanation as to why they took so long, but all of my dashing to the window when I ‘heard’ a post van sized automobile pull up was in vain – they showed up, of course, while I was in England!

While waiting, I e-mailed my friend Ben Myers for advice as to what to read in preparation, and for any suggestions as to the order to read them when they arrived. I thought this would be a good idea, not only because he is a Barth expert, but because he is the one, through his blog, who got me interested in Barth in the first place. Actually, ‘interested’ doesn’t say it really. In response he sent me a wonderfully helpful reading list which, as a result, has consumed many an enjoyable hour since February. So my thanks go out to Ben for that (I’m looking forward to reading your ‘Ode’ later!).

However, my real gratitude is, of course, reserved for Jim. Thanks so much mate! I know you aren’t a hugger, so just be thankful you aren’t anywhere near me at the moment. My English reserve wouldn’t be any insurance for you. I suggest any who read this post go out and read something of Zwingli out of respect for the man who sent Barth’s entire Kirchliche Dogmatik to me here in Germany!


At 5/01/2006 11:30 PM, Anonymous Jim said...


And by the by, this is just the sort of negative publicity I really don't need right now what with the homeschooler lot furious at me and spending most of their time demonizing me. Add to that the simple fact that I'm not really all that personable, a tad snooty, a bit arrogant, more than a smidge elitist, and my most trusted colleagues all minimalists and, well, you see the problem.

But enjoy! ;-) I'm glad they've gone to a good home.

At 5/01/2006 11:32 PM, Anonymous Chris T. said...

What have you read in preparation out of curiosity, Chris?

I am hoping to start the first volume after I read the Dogmatics in Outline.

At 5/02/2006 6:40 AM, Anonymous Ben Myers said...

Brilliant news! The best news of the year! As a sign of my great respect for Jim, I will devote an entire afternoon to reading Zwingli!

At 5/02/2006 1:24 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

Thanks Ben!

At 5/03/2006 12:36 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Jim,
I'm glad they've gone to a good home.
And loved they will most certainly be.

Hi Chris T,
the most enjoyable so far has to be Webster's sympathetic overview in the Great Christian Thinkers Series. However, Jenson's shorter contribution in Ford's Modern Theologians was good too.

If you are reading the Dogmatics in Outline, that is highly recommended too - and not to say wonderfully edifying, as is Busch's biography. Of course, Ben is the man to ask, but these are the ones I'd suggest from my limited experience.

At 5/03/2006 12:29 PM, Anonymous Ben Myers said...

And of course Barth's Evangelical Theology is an excellent book for an orientation to Barth's way of doing theology.


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