The Promise and Peril of Theology

Milan Cathedral

Of all disciplines theology is the fairest, the one that moves the head and heart most fully, the one that comes closest to human reality, the one that gives the clearest perspective on the truth which every disciple seeks. It is a landscape like those of Umbria and Tuscany with views which are distant and yet clear, a work of art which is as well planned and as bizarre as the cathedrals of Cologne or Milan … But of all disciplines theology is also the most difficult and the most dangerous, the one in which a man is most likely to end in despair, or – and this is almost worse – in arrogance. Theology can float off into thin air or turn to stone, and worst of all it can become a caricature of itself.

Karl Barth, cited in Busch, Karl Barth, 244.

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