What does a theologian say to young preachers in the early 1930s, at the dawn of the Third Reich?
What Karl Barth did say, how he said it, and why he said it at that time and place are the subject of Angela Dienhart Hancock's book. This is the story of how a preaching classroom became a place of resistance in Germany in 1932-33 -- a story that has not been told in its fullness. In that emergency situation, Barth took his students back to the fundamental questions about what preaching is and what it is for, returning again and again to the affirmation of the Godness of God, the only ground of resistance to ideological captivity.
No other text has so interpreted Barth's "Exercises in Sermon Preparation" in relation to their theological, political, ecclesiastical, academic, and rhetorical context.
Read a blog post by Hancock
-- editor/publisher of The Christian Century
"The question haunts us. How would I have responded to the rise of Nazism? Angela Dienhart Hancock, with careful scholarship and thorough research, examines the thinking of the dominant theologian of the twentieth century as National Socialism emerged around him. . . . Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic is an ambitious, timely, and very important project."
Daniel L. Migliore
-- Princeton Theological Seminary
"On the basis of her careful and detailed research, Angela Hancock sets Barth's 'emergency homiletic' in the ominous political context of Germany in the early 1930s. The result is a moving account of Barth's efforts in his homiletics classes to liberate preaching from religious platitude and political propaganda and to present it instead as service of the living Word of God rooted in the biblical text and marked by expectancy, humility, and courage."
-- University of Göttingen
"A splendid investigation of Karl Barth's homiletic seminar in 1932-33. . . . Angela Dienhart Hancock encourages us by her precise presentation to take the duty of preaching seriously."
-- Union Theological Seminary, New York
"Hancock's learned, perceptive, and compelling work adds significantly to our understanding of an important chapter of modern theology involving the twentieth century's most important theologian."
"Hancock's compelling analysis and retrieval of artifacts remaining from Karl Barth's 1932-1933 preaching classroom at Bonn proves integral not only to reassessing the importance of Barth's influence for practical theology, but also for acknowledging the classroom itself as a place of political resistance against the Third Reich and its increasing power. . . . Hancock offers an important contribution both to the fields of practical theology in its homiletical theories and to ethics, systematics, and historical theologies in their retrieval of Barth's theology as witness in proclamation, life, and service to the church."
Reviews in Religion & Theology
"An exemplary piece of historical theology. . . . This is an excellent volume. It is deserving of a wide readership, not only among Barth scholars and historians of the Third Reich, but also among those who find themselves in the pulpit on Sundays. Hancock brings to life the classroom of a great theologian during one of the most tumultuous times in recent history. This theologian challenges his students as well as us to be open to the Word who becomes flesh. For this reason, this is a highly practical and life-giving book."