Barth on what matters in the Gospel narratives

"In the editing and composition of the Evangelical narratives the interest and art and rules of the historian do not matter. What matters is His living existence in the community and therefore in the world. What matters is His history as it has indeed happened but as it is present and not past. What matters is His speaking and acting and suffering and dying today as well as yesterday. What matters is the "good news" of His history as it speaks and rings out hic et nunc. It is not a question of digging out and preserving Himself and His history in order to have them before us and study them. It is a matter of living with Him the living One, and therefore of participating in His history . . . . It is quite right that the voice and form of Jesus cannot in practice be distinguished with any finality in the Gospels from the community founded by Him and sharing His life. The historian may find this disconcerting and suspicious (or even provocatively interesting). It is further evidence of that submission to the divine verdict without which the Gospels could never have taken shape as Gospels."

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/1, 320


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