For many scholars of theology, Karl Barth's break with liberalism is the most important event that has occurred in theology in over 200 years. Richard Burnett shows that an important part of Barth's break was his attempt to overcome the hermeneutical tradition of Schleiermacher. This is reflected throughout Barth's Romerbrief period and especially in his attempt to engage in 'theological exegesis'.The hermeneutical tradition of Schleiermacher begins with Herder and extends through Dilthey, Troeltsch, Wobbermin, Wernle and Barth himself prior to 1915. It exercised great influence throughout the twentieth century and is characterized by its attempt to integrate broad aspects of interpretation, to establish universally valid rules of interpretation on the basis of a general anthropology, and its reliance upon empathy ('Einfuhlung').Barth's discovery that the being of God is the hermeneutical problem (Jungel) implied that the object to be kwn should determine the way taken in kwing. This caused the rise of a hermeneutical revolution which gave priority to content over method, to actual exegesis over hermeneutical theory. Barth did have hermeneutical principles which he thought might apply generally, however. These are apparent in his Romerbrief period and specifically in his attempt to approach the Bible more according to its subject matter, content, and substance, entering with more attention and love into the meaning of the Bible itself.Richard Burnett focuses on these principles, which have never been discussed at length, r specifically in relationship to Schleiermacher, and presents a study which challenges both 'neo-orthodox' and 'post-modern' readings of Karl Barth.
Richard E. Burnett, Born 1963; Graduate of King College (A.B.), Yale University Divinity School (S.T.M.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D.); Post-Graduate work at the University of Tubingen; presently pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Waynesville, North Carolina.