Complementary dialectics of Kierkegaard and Barth: Barth's use of Kierkegaardian diastasis reassessed


Abstract
The purpose of this study is to re-assess Karl Barth's use of the Kierkegaardian “infinite qualitative distinction between God and man”. It juxtaposes Kierkegaard's qualitative dialectic and Karl Barth's own complementary dialectic respectively. Then it compares and contrasts their similarities and dissimilarities in various contexts that would lead us to a more balanced assessment of Barth's use of Kierkegaardian diastasis and a better understanding of the ultimate purpose for holding fast to the bipolar but relational God-man unity of the Incarnation. In contrast to Hegelian synthesis, the article contends that the dynamics of the dialectics of Kierkegaard and Barth should be understood in the manner of a complementary synthesis of two opposites.
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