The idea of neutrality and impartiality in exegesis and theology is ridiculous

Barth brings this up in his Church Dogmatics:

There is a notion that complete impartiality is the most fitting and indeed the normal disposition for true exegesis, because it guarantees a complete absence of prejudice. For a short time, around 1910, this idea threatened to achieve almost canonical status in Protestant theology. But now we can quite calmly describe it as merely comical.

-Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, 1.2, §19.

Neutrality and impartiality in theology and exegesis is “comical” and ridiculous for several reasons but one in particular:

Neutrality is impossible.

No one is ever truly neutral or impartial, especially with regard to divine revelation. The most one can hope for is to recognizes one’s prejudices and bring the light of Scripture to bear on them.

More on this later.

Note that Daniel Kirk brought my attention to this quote  here.


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Theology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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