Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Gary Badcock


In Church Dogmatics, IV/1, §60, Karl Barth wrote of “The Pride and Fall of Man,” the first theme in his hamartiology of pride, sloth and falsehood. This thesis will argue that Barth’s conflict with the German Christian Movement served as a source of Barth’s hamartiology of pride. This is specifically evidenced by the reference to Aaron as a man of the “national church” in the lengthy excursus on Exodus 32 in Church Dogmatics §60.

Weimar humiliation in Germany had provoked reaction in the movement for a nationalistic church, which Nazism attempted to absorb. Theologians Paul Althaus, Gerhard Kittel and Emanuel Hirsch, among others, provided justification for this. Barth, however, indicted the “German Christians” for the sin of pride, maintaining that in turning people from the God of the Bible to the idolatrous god of the state, they had proudly and sinfully said “No” to God’s “Yes” revealed in Jesus Christ.