Review: P. H. Brazier, Barth and Dostoevsky

P. H. Brazier, Barth and Dostoevsky: A Study of the Influence of the Russian Writer Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky on the Development of the Swiss Theologian Karl Barth, 1915-1922 (Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster, 2007), xix + 245 pp. $39.99 (paperback)

In his forward to Paul Brazier’s new book, Stephen Holmes begins by stating, “The book you have before you might surprise you” (xvii). Holmes was apparently skeptical about the prospect of a book looking at an historical period in Barth’s life already thoroughly covered by Bruce McCormack. Holmes goes on to say that he “expected little more than a conversation with, and perhaps some footnotes to, McCormack,” but that Brazier had convinced him that there was “extraordinarily interesting data” still waiting to be explored. The result of this exploration was Brazier’s dissertation, originally entitled “Die Freiheit in der Gefangenschaft Gottes”: The Nature and Content of the Influence of Dostoevsky on Karl Barth, 1915 to 1922, now published in the line of Paternoster Theological Monographs under the title, Barth and Dostoevsky. While the book illuminates and examines certain dimensions of Barth’s life that have been ignored by most Barth scholars, the data is not always as surprising as one might expect, nor is the data presented in a very accessible manner.

Read the rest of the review at the Center for Barth Studies website.


Anonymous said…
A very helpful review David. I bought this text when you first mentioned it some time ago, started reading it, got frustrated and also had to deal with the daily grind of the semester so I haven't really turned back to it. I do have one question, you refer to McCormack and Frank in your essay. Which Frank?