“The severe limitation of Barth’s pneumatology is mirrored in the very way his concept of the knowledge of God and of theology finally is unable to fully overcome the modern dilemma.  Barth’s central concept of ‘actualism’ makes the dialectical discourse of theology a conditio sine qua non for avoiding the unhappy choice between human reification and construction.  Only the ongoing dialectic of the theological discourse itself keeps the witness (Scripture, church doctrine, theological teaching) ‘fluid’ (ie, preserves it from becoming a reified knowledge of God) and at the same time resists theological poiesis by committing and submitting the theologian to the ongoing discourse with all the significant interlocutors (Scripture, church doctrine, theological teaching).  This is the reason the Church Dogmatics is essentially a discourse without a beginning or end.  In the very enactment of a discourse, the dialectical theologian practices a subtle sublation of both ends of the modern dilemma (italics mine).  Yet Barth achieves this only by means of a sleight of hand.  The one who practices the dialectic of sublation, the ongoing suspense for the sake of the ever new inbreaking of God’s self-communication, is the individual theologian in the enactment of an ongoing theological discourse.  While thus the noetic primacy (or supremacy) of the human might be held in check, the primacy of the human as the condition for the possibility of practicing the ongoing suspense of theological discourse is implicitly but de facto reaffirmed in Barth’s concept” (italics mine).

~ Reinhard Hutter, Bound To Be Free, 48.

Interesting how similar this criticism is to Milbank’s own take on Barth.

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