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Forensic Apocalyptic Theology

Karl Barth and the Doctrine of Justification

Forensic Apocalyptic Theology by Shannon Nicole Smythe
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Concerned by the ever-widening chasm between Paul and Reformation theology, Forensic Apocalyptic Theology is a thorough and innovative examination of the mature work of Karl Barth in relationship to the question of Paul and the Protestant doctrine of justification. Shannon Nicole Smythe argues that the basis of Barth’s revised doctrine of justification is located in his mature Christology, which is both deeply apocalyptic and thoroughly forensic. Closely analyzing not only the relationship of the early Barth’s theological exegesis of Romans, but also his later exegetical work and doctrinal construction of justification, as well as its interrelated topics in the Church Dogmatics, Smythe discovers in Barth what she terms a “forensic-apocalyptic” approach, which allows him to formulate a doctrine of justification with stronger ties not only to the Reformation doctrine but also to Pauline apocalyptic.

The result is that Barth’s doctrine of justification is not susceptible to the same criticisms commonly brought against a judicial (forensic) reading, while his soteriology becomes more consistently forensic than that of the Reformation and points toward a different approach to the relationship between justification in Paul and the Protestant doctrine.
Fortress Press; June 2016
224 pages; ISBN 9781506410296
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Title: Forensic Apocalyptic Theology
Author: Shannon Nicole Smythe