Modern Theology 28 (3):446-477 (2012)

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Jason Springs
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
This article explores the possibility of moving beyond the apparent incapacity of Karl Barth's theological anthropology to accommodate gender equality. Barth's theological anthropology is read by critics and appreciative readers alike as confining the basic form of humanity to a binary opposition from which he then derives a gender‐specific, hierarchical account of man and woman, and finally, of husband and wife as a paradigmatic ethical relationship. I first forward a close reading of Barth's account of I and Thou in order to explicate the nature of the normative form that is basic to his account of human being‐in‐relation. I apply this reading as a lens through which to re‐read and re‐orient his account of Man and Woman/Husband and Wife. I argue that the inequalities that appear intrinsic to Barth's formal ordering of Man and Woman/Husband and Wife owing to the absence of a standard concept of “equal regard” might be re‐oriented, and limitations of his account surpassed, by grasping with greater precision and enunciating the orientational implications of Barth's christologically‐anchored conception of freedom as the “root and crown” of human being‐in‐relation generally, and gendered relationship in particular
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0025.2012.01760.x
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