An Apocalyptic Tone: Karl Barth’s Der Römerbrief in conversation with Friedrich Nietzsche on Justice, Grace, and related matters

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This contribution offers an account of the dialectics of Grace in Karl Barth’s Der Römerbrief in the context of its philosophical orientation with special regard to the noble or ‘apocalyptic’ tone. Between a predominantly neo-Kantian paradigm and a minor Nietzschean impulse, Der Römerbrief proposes an interpretation of Grace in Paul, which is an implicit correction of Nietzsche’s understanding of Justice, Grace and related concepts. Nietzsche represents a ‘noble’ tone in philosophy in the sense that Kant denounces as incompatible with the scientific and rational standards of modernity, but which Kant himself invoked in his Third Critique, that became the programmatic text for German Romanticism and which on line with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche became a beacon of post-modern philosophy
The apocalyptic tone in Paul, it is claimed, is foreclosed by a “greedy dialectics of time and eternity”, which is Barth’s interpretation of the “Moment of Grace”. Barth’s Kantian perception of dialectics and crisis had problematic repercussions in twentieth century dialectical theology. Nietzsche’s interpretations of Paul and Christianity and a recent philosophical readings offer another approach, which will allow the hymnic tone of the fulfillment to sound in the otherwise tormented Pauline discourse.
The topic of ‘an apocalyptic tone’ in Kant and Nietzsche which more recently has been evoked in Jacques Derrida and resumed in Paul Ricoeur’s interpretation of Paul, serves as a guideline for the exposition of Grace and Justice.
On this reading the ‘apocalyptic tone’ is a “denouncement of announcement”, that questions the dialectical approach in Barth. Drawing on Giorgio Agamben’s understanding of “aphoristic Messianism” in Paul, Nietzsche’s aphoristic style as a medium of thinking and communication open an alternative methodological approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrisis and Reorientation eds , table of contents: eds Christine Svinth-Værge Põder and Sigurd Baark
Number of pages25
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusSubmitted - 2022

ID: 322198600