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CHTH321 Karl Barth and Public Theology (Advanced)

Examination of the public theology of Karl Barth, with particular attention to the biblical and confessional basis for Barth's advocacy of social justice, participatory democracy and economic solidarity.

Paper title Karl Barth and Public Theology (Advanced)
Paper code CHTH321
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $886.35
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,766.35

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One 200-level CHTH or CHTX paper
CHTH 221
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Paper Structure

This paper is organised into ten topics:

  1. The Theologian and His Theology
  2. The Great War and the Great Crisis
  3. Between the Republic and the Reich
  4. The Church Struggle and the Barmen Declaration
  5. The Word of God and Public Theology
  6. Gospel, Law, and Public Theology
  7. Church, State, and Public Theology
  8. Christian Community, Civil Community, and Public Theology
  9. Justification, Justice, and Public Theology
  10. Revelation, Revolution, and Public Theology


Assessment comprises 2 x Assignments (30% each) and 1 x Assignment (40%)


Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.


Dr Derek Woodard-Lehman (

Teaching staff

Lecturer: Dr Derek Woodard-Lehman

No textbooks are required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the paper you will:

  • Understand the biblical and theological foundations of Christian advocacy for social justice, participatory democracy, and economic solidarity.

  • Understand the political, social, economic, and religious context of the first half of the twentieth century – particularly the Weimar Republic and Nazi Reich.

  • Articulate the principles of Barth’s Reformed approach to public theology.

  • Recognise the significance of the Barmen Declaration in the German Church struggle against Nazism and its legacy for contemporary public theology.

  • Identify current issues in public theology and Christian contributions to contemporary social movements.

  • Articulate the distinctions between Lutheran and Reformed responses to the Nazi Reich.

  • Research and construct an argument about a Barth’s public theology, either in its historical context or in its contemporary relevance

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 9-10, 12-16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 15:00-20:50 11