As our Schleiermacher Reading Group at WTS is currently reading through Barth’s Church Dogmatics section on Scripture, I have found myself having tremendous sympathies with his views on Scripture. Now, this is pretty scary and uncharted territory for me since I have it ingrained in me to consider Barth a hermeneutical and Christological heretic even though he opposed the theological liberals of his time (who I was also taught to consider heretical).
“The demand that the Bible should be read and understood and expounded historically is, therefore, obviously justified and can never be taken too seriously. The Bible itself posits this demand: even where it appeals expressly to divine commissionings and promptings, in its actual compostion it is eerywhere a human word, and this human word is obviously intended to be taken seriously and read and understood and expounded as such. To do anything else would be to miss the reality of the Bible and therefore the Bible itself as the witness of revelation. The demand for a “historical” understnading of the Bible necessarily means, in content, that we have to take it for what it undoubtedly is and is meant to be: the human speech uttered by specific men at speciic times in a specific situation, in a specific language and with a specific intention. It emans that the understanding of it has honestly and unreservedly been on which is guided by all these considerations…To the extent that it [the concrete humanity of Scripture] is ignored, it has not been read at all.“