Research Repository

University Crest

Karl Barth's Theology of Joy

Capper, John Mark (1998) Karl Barth's Theology of Joy. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

PDF (Capper 1998 PhD Cambridge Barth Joy)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB)


Joy is a recurrent theme in the Church Dogmatics of Karl Barth but it is one which is under-explored. In order to ascertain reasons for this lack, the work of six scholars is explored with regard to the theme of joy, employing the useful though limited “motifs” suggested by Hunsinger.
That the revelation of God has a trinitarian framework, as demonstrated by Barth in CD I, and that God as Trinity is joyful, helps to explain Barth’s understanding of theology as a “joyful science”.
By close attention to Barth’s treatment of the perfections of God (CD II.1), the link which Barth makes with glory and eternity is explored, noting the far-reaching sweep which joy is allowed by contrast with the related theme of beauty. Divine joy is discerned as the response to glory in the inner life of the Trinity, and as such is the quality of God being truly Godself. Joy is seen to be “more than a perfection” and is basic to God’s self-revelation and human response. A dialogue with Jonathan Edwards challenges Barth’s restricted use of beauty in his theology, and highlights the innovation Barth makes by including election in his doctrine of God.
In the context of Barth’s anthropology, paying close attention to his treatment of “being in encounter” (CD III.2), there is an examination of the significance of gladness as the response to divine glory in the life of humanity, and as the crowning of full and free humanness. The study then culminates in a consideration of the role which joy plays in Barth’s doctrine of reconciliation (CD IV) with particular reference to the “Easter event”. A range of critical issues arises from this, and these, together with others gathered from previous chapters, suggests a brief concluding list of questions to Barth.

Item Type: Theses (Doctor of Philosophy)
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: Karl Barth, joy, Jonathan Edwards, Balthasar, glory, happiness, beauty, affection, election, being in encounter, reconciliation, theosis
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: C - Systematic Theology
College/Association with University of Divinity: Other University of Divinity
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Revd Dr John Mark Capper
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2013 02:54
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2013 02:54
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1242

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...