Reading Auschwitz with Barth: The Holocaust as Problem and Promise for Barthian Theology

By Mark R. Lindsay

An exploration of the problems posed by the Holocaust in the light of Barth’s theology, showing how such a dialogue enriches our understanding of both.

ISBN: 9780227174715


It has been widely accepted that few individuals had as great an influence on the church and its theology during the twentieth century as Karl Barth (1886-1968). His legacy continues to be explored and explained, with theologians around the world and from across the ecumenical spectrum vigorously debating the doctrinal ramifications of Barth’s insights. What has been less readily accepted is that the Holocaust of the Jews had an equally profound effect, and that it, too, entails far-reaching consequences for the church’s understanding of itself and its God. In this groundbreaking book, Barth and the Holocaust are brought into deliberate dialogue with one another to show why the church should heed both their voices, and how that might be done.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 202

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Associate Professor Mark R. Lindsay is Director of Research at MCD University of Divinity. He is the author of two earlier books on Karl Barth – Covenanted Solidarity: The Theological Basis of Karl Barth’s Opposition to Nazi Antisemitism and the Holocaust (2001), and Barth, Israel and Jesus (2007) – as well as numerous chapters and articles on Barth, Bonhoeffer, and post-Holocaust theology.


Foreword by Martin Rumscheidt
List of Abbreviations


Section I: Setting the Scene
1. Facing the Tremendum (I): The Shoah and Modern Jewish Thought
2. Facing the Tremendum (II): The Shoah and Modern Christian Thought

Section II: Engaging with Barth
3. The Barthian Barrier: Karl Barth’s Natural Theological Nein! to the Holocaust
4. Shoah as Witness? The Holocaust as a Testifying Event
5. Barth and Berkovits: The Dialectics of Revelation and the Hester Panim
6. The Solidarity of Crucified Suffering

Conclusion: The Barthian Challenge to Post-Holocaust Theology – A Caution Against Saying Too Much

Name Index
Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Will Lindsay dare to write so openly about Barth’s theology as it stands before this icon of Jewish suffering and Jewish death? … Well, I shall say, read Mark Lindsay’s book! Because neither Christian nor Jew in this century can avoid confronting the challenges of Auschwitz. And because Barth’s return to Scripture, ‘old’ and ‘new’, includes a return to the Jews.
Peter Ochs, Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia

Mark Lindsay is an internationally recognised expert on Karl Barth’s attitude toward the Jews … He shows not only that Barth is a fruitful dialogue partner for post-Holocaust theology, but also that he offers profound theological resources for coming to terms with the Holocaust itself. … Lindsay is right that Barth failed to confront the Holocaust directly. This is essentially the book that Barth himself should have written.
George Hunsinger, McCord Professor of Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

… an interesting, readable, and important book that provides a fitting capstone to Lindsay’s trilogy. One of the most significant contributions of this book is its willingness to face what Lindsay calles the tremendum of the Holocaust and to continue to rethink Christian theology, liturgy, and practise in light of the horror of those events.
Ashley Cocksworth, in Modern Believing, Vol 57.2