Reflecting on
Barth, Bonhoeffer, and Modern Politics

A Canopy Forum Thematic Series
June – July 2021

“The Theological and the Political in Christianity, Socialism, and Modernity”

Gary Dorrien
June 15th, 2021

“Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were theological titans of the twentieth century who naturally wrote mostly about the interpretation of Christian doctrines. That they remain relevant to social ethics and political theology cannot be assumed; such a claim must be defended. Both theologians might seem to be prime candidates for the verdict that too much has been written about them already. Neither had a profound critique of racism or settler colonialism beyond what he said about Nazi racism…”

“Yes and No: Barth, Bonhoeffer, and Modern Politics”

Elisabeth Rain Kincaid
June 16th, 2021

“Beloved author J.R.R. Tolkien survived the First World War’s trenches, confronted the intellectual challenges and questions of modernity, and then wrote his epic works of high fantasy, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, during the horrors of the Second World War. After the perils and high heroic deeds of their quest to destroy the ring of power detailed in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Samwise Gamgee, and the other hobbits return home to the Shire. Rather than the peaceful domesticity they are anticipating, they find one final task lies before them…”

“Barth and Bonhoeffer: Saviors of Democracy?”

Adam McDuffie
June 18th, 2021

“From his very first line, Joshua Mauldin establishes immediately what is at stake in his new thought-provoking volume Barth, Bonhoeffer, & Modern Politics: “Modern democracy is in crisis.” The modern liberal democratic project does seem to teeter perpetually on a knife’s edge. Critics and prognosticators routinely predict its demise. While there has been no shortage of overwrought responses to events which failed to alter the status quo, it would be incorrect to suggest that all who foresee the fall of democracy as we know it are Chicken Littles convinced that the sky is falling….”

“Democracy After Barth and Bonhoeffer”

Derek Woodard-Lehman
July 12th, 2021

“In this brisk little book, Joshua Mauldin responds to the contemporary crisis of democracy by taking up three related topics: theological criticisms of modernity and democracy, such as those made by Alasdair MacIntyre, Bradley Gregory, and Stanley Hauerwas; the political theologies of Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and broadly Hegelian defenses of modernity and democracy, like those offered by Charles Taylor, Richard Rorty, and Jeffrey Stout. Whether begrudgingly reluctant or belligerently resistant, the religious despisers of modern democracy stand on one side of Mauldin’s account…”