2017 Annual Karl Barth Conference


Luther, Barth, and Movements of Theological Renewal (1918-1933)

2017 Annual Karl Barth Conference

Princeton Theological Seminary, June 18-21, 2017


Conference Exposé

The years from 1900-1933 represent some of the most productive years in the history of German Protestant theology. New interests in history and religious experience would be brought to bear on the study of Martin Luther. No longer would his thought be construed as a system of theology. Rather he would be seen as the paradigm for a religious experience that had initiated the birth of Protestantism. Luther’s work that consolidated what would later be called the “Luther Renaissance” was the publication of his Commentary on Romans (1515/16) in 1908. In 1919 Karl Barth published the first edition of his Letter to the Romans. “Dialectical theology”, the movement that Barth would be closely identified with, had emerged. How are the two movements, the Luther Renaissance and dialectical theology, related? The conference “Luther and Barth During the Weimar Years (1905-1922)” investigates the intellectual, historical, philosophical, and theological impulses informing both movements, their interconnections, and their eventual coming apart. The conference will also serve as opportunity to introduce the groundbreaking work of contemporary German theologian Heinrich Assel to the English-speaking world.

The conference is organized by three thematic units that follow each other chronologically. The conference begins with following introductory event:

Introduction: “1917”—“1883”—“1933”

Panorama: Luther Renaissance and Dialectical Theology: Heinrich Assel (Greifswald) and Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary)

Presentation: Heinrich Assel’s “Der andere Aufbruch — The Luther Renaissance” by Christine Põder (Copenhagen)

1. Anticipations (1900-1919)

In this unit, a number of impulses that gave rise to the Luther Renaissance and Dialectical Theology will be considered. The Jewish neo-Kantian philosopher Hermann Cohen is the most important formative influence on both movements. Yet anti-semitism characterized German culture at the time, a consideration that must be taken into account in this formative period that initiates Luther as Germanic Luther. Furthermore, the Romans commentary from 1908 stands as the watershed date.

  • PD Dr. Hartwig Wiedebach (ETH Zurich): On Karl Barth’s Interpretation of Kant
  • Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Mariña (Purdue University): Neo-Kantianism and its influence on the Luther Renaissance
  • Prof. Dr. Christine Svinth-Værge Põder (University of Copenhagen): Luther’s Lectures on Romans in the works of Karl Holl, R. Hermann, and Karl Barth
  • Prof. Dr. Christine Helmer (Northwestern University Evanston): On Otto and Troeltsch’s interpretation of Luther vis-à-vis the structure of the doctrine of justification, the mystical union and the simul iustus et peccator

2. Parallel Movements (1919-1926)

This unit investigates the ways in which the Luther Renaissance and dialectical theology developed in relation to each other in the period between Barth’s Letter to the Romans (1919) and his writing of dogmatics (1921-1926). This was the time of the emergence of the two movements. It was tracked by the continuing reception of Luther and characterized by mutuality and reciprocity. The emergence of both movements was also deeply tied with reflections on the devastation precipitated by the Great War. Here we see discussions with Jewish thinkers (Rosenzweig, Benjamin, and Buber), an emerging political dimension particularly among Luther scholars vested in the Germanic Luther (Hirsch, Althaus and Elert), and the lines of critical reflection with growing concern of theology’s responsibilities to church and society on the one hand (Ernst Wolf, Hans-Joachim Iwand), and theology’s task in relation to the word of God (Barth, Gogarten, and Bultmann) on the other.

  • Prof. Dr. Michael Jennings (Princeton University): Walter Benjamin and Barth’s Romans Commentary
  • Prof. Dr. Claire Sufrin (Northwestern University Evanston): Jewish dialectical theology specifically Buber
  • Prof. Dr. Volker Leppin (Universität Tübingen): Luther in the Kirchenkampf: Barth, Seeberg and Vogelsang.
  • PD Dr. Henning Theißen (Universität Greifswald): Barth’s explicit reception of Luther.

3. Disruption (1927-1933)

With Weimar Germany heading for collapse, the theological differences between the Luther Renaissance and Dialectical Theology were also hardening. Luther was increasingly coopted for political and nationalist agenda, while dialectical theology as a coherent movement was coming apart. This unit will focus on the theological and political developments of topics during this time of hardening of differences against the backdrop of a collapsing Weimar Republic.

  • Prof. Dr. Heinrich Assel (Universität Greifswald): Barth, Hirsch and Gogarten – Political Christology
  • Dr. Christian Neddens (Universität Saarbrücken): Theology of the Cross and Political Theology: Hans Joachim Iwand and Werner Elert
  • Prof. Dr. Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary): Trinity in Barth and Gogarten
  • Prof. Dr. Hent de Vries (John Hopkins University, Baltimore): Political Theology.

Registration

Registration for the 2017 Barth Conference is now open! You can click here to register online.

If you have any questions regarding registration, email us at barth.center@ptsem.edu

Call for Applications

Schedule

Luther and Barth During the Weimar Years (1900-1933)

June 18-21, 2017

*Please note that this conference schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Sunday, June 18th

2:00-5:00 PM – Registration

6:00-7:30 PM – Banquet

7:30-9:00 PM – Opening Lecture (Introduction)

(3) brief lectures:

• Panorama: Luther Renaissance and Dialectical Theology - Heinrich Assel (Greifswald), Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary), and Christine Pöder (Copenhagen)

Monday, June 19th - Anticipations

8:00-9:00 AM – Breakfast

9:15-10:15 AM – Lecture 1 - Hartwig Wiedebach (Zurich)

10:15-10:45 AM – Break with coffee

10:45-11:45 AM – Lecture 2 - Jacqueline Mariña (Purdue)

Noon-1:00 PM (Lunch)

1:30-2:30 PM – Lecture 3 - Christine Pöder (Copenhagen)

2:30-3:00 PM – Break with refreshments

3:00-4:00 PM – Lecture 4 - Christine Helmer (Northwestern)

4:15-5:00 PM – Break

5:00-6:30 PM – Dinner

7:00-8:30 PM – Summary panel discussion for “Anticipations” papers

Tuesday, June 20th - Parallel Movements

8:00-9:00 AM – Breakfast

9:15-10:15 AM – Lecture 5 - Michael Jennings (Princeton University)

10:15-10:45 AM – Break with coffee

10:45-11:45 AM – Lecture 6 - Claire Sufrin (Northwestern)

Noon-1:00 PM (Lunch)

1:30-2:30 PM – Lecture 7 - Volker Leppin (Tübingen)

2:30-3:00 PM – Break with refreshments

3:00-4:00 PM – Lecture 8 - Henning Theissen (Greifswald)

4:15-5:30 PM – Break

5:30-6:30 PM – Dinner

7:00-8:30 PM – Summary panel discussion for “Parallel Movements” papers

Wednesday, June 21st - Disruption

8:00-9:00 AM – Breakfast

9:15-10:15 AM – Lecture 9 - Heinrich Assel (Greifswald)

10:15-10:45 AM – Break with coffee

10:45-11:45 AM – Lecture 10 - Christian Neddens (Saarland)

Noon-1:00 PM (Lunch)

1:15-2:15 PM – Lecture 11 - Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary)

2:15-2:45 PM – Break with refreshments

2:45-3:45 PM – Lecture 12 - Hent de Vries (Johns Hopkins University)

4:00-5:00 PM - Summary panel discussion for “Disruption” papers

Speaker Profiles

Suggested Readings

Concurrent Speakers

Maps and Directions

By Air

From Newark Liberty International Airport

The Olympic Airporter shuttle service takes you to the Nassau Inn in Princeton; call for schedule and reservations: 800.822.9797 (within the United States) or 732.938.6666 (outside the United States), or visit www.olympicairporter.com

The AirTrain takes you from all airport terminals to the Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station. Take New Jersey Transit southbound (Northeast Corridor Line) trains to Princeton Junction. From Princeton Junction take the train to Princeton Station.

From Philadelphia International Airport

Take the R1 High Speed Rail Line (entrance on pedestrian bridges and commercial roadway), limousine service (The Olympic Airporter; call for reservations: 800.822.9797 within the United States or 732.938.6666 outside the United States, or visitwww.olympicairporter.com), or local taxi service to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, where you can purchase a SEPTA/New Jersey Transit ticket to take a SEPTA train to Trenton and a New Jersey Transit train to Princeton Junction. From Princeton Junction take the train to Princeton Station.
From Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City (41st Street and 8th Avenue)

By Bus

Purchase a Suburban Transit bus ticket to Princeton at windows 16 through 19 on the first floor. Board the bus on the third floor (fourth level) at gates 420 through 422. The bus leaves every half hour between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekends, and every half hour on the hour until 1:00 a.m. The trip is one and one-half hours. Ask the driver to let you off at the end of Nassau Street where it meets Mercer Street and Route 206 in Princeton, and walk to the Seminary.By
From New York City (and north) and Philadelphia (and south)

By Train

New Jersey Transit services Princeton from the north (New York City, Newark), with connecting service from the south (Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC). Amtrak trains stop in Trenton, and some at Princeton Junction.
From the North/New York City

By Car

Take the New Jersey Turnpike South to Exit 9 (New Brunswick). After the tollbooths, bear right onto the ramp for Route 18 North. Shortly after getting onto Route 18 North the road will fork; stay to the left of the fork, in the right lane. Bear right onto this exit for Route 1 South/Trenton. Follow Route 1 South to Alexander Road (Princeton). Turn right onto Alexander Road and continue to the entrance of Princeton Seminary, which is the first left turn after College Road (Alexander Road will be Alexander Street at this point).

From the West

Take I-78 East into New Jersey. Exit onto I-287 South toward Somerville. Follow signs for Routes 202/206 South. Travel south on 202 for a short distance and then follow signs for Route 206 South. You will go around a traffic circle. Continue south on Route 206 for about eighteen miles to Nassau Street (Route 27) in the center of Princeton. Turn left onto Nassau Street and the first right onto Mercer Street and continue to the main entrance of Princeton Seminary, which will be on your left.

From the South

From southern New Jersey take I-295 North (becomes I-95 South) to the “Princeton Pike North” exit and continue on Princeton Pike for approximately five miles. Immediately after passing Library Place (on the left), the main entrance to the campus will be on your right.

From the East

Take I-95 West toward Trenton to the exit for I-295 North (becomes I-95 South) to the “Princeton Pike North” exit and continue on Princeton Pike for approximately five miles. Immediately after passing Library Place (on the left), the main entrance to the campus will be on your right.

From Philadelphia

Take I-95 North into New Jersey and exit at “Princeton Pike North” and continue on Princeton Pike for approximately five miles. Immediately after passing Library Place (on the left), the main entrance to the campus will be on your right.
A detailed map of Princeton Theological Seminary is shown below.

Princeton Seminary Main Campus Map

Detailed Map of Princeton Theological Seminary
Detailed Map of Princeton Theological Seminary

Lodging

​Lodging will be available again this year at Princeton Seminary’s Erdman Center. Details about the Erdman Center can be found here. The nightly lodging rates range from $55-$90 depending upon the room you choose. Please note that the conference will begin early on Monday morning so we advise a Sunday stay.

The registration fee does not include lodging charges. All charges for lodging at the Erdman Center are separate and paid upon arrival at the Erdman Center.

Contact

If you have any questions or concerns, email us at barth.center@ptsem.edu or call us at 609-524-1981.