A Response to Kellen's Post: Sometimes It Isn't Any Wonder...
Kellen's body is a wonderland. It's true. However, Kellen's post doesn't seem to me to be very charitable. I'd like him to answer these questions: Is there any value to music/art/lit crit (or for that matter critical investigation of Scripture), and if so why doesn't this come out more often in his writing?
Personally, I'm glad for people who spend enough time on music to know its history, know its trends, know a artist's influences and listen with the intentionality with which the music was created. I'll admit that sometimes it seems like music critics might benefit from a break from covering music and instead have to cover foreign affairs or plumbing trade shows. That is my way of saying that he has his points, however I've already made my case for specialized language. Anyway, did I mention that Kellen's body is a wonderland?
[If you want my opinion on the bands mentioned in Kellen's post: John Mayer could use some help in production, writing lyrics, and having more of an edge to his work. Keane is a good band, not great (at least not yet), and hasn't figured out their own sound yet. I'm not a huge fan of Coldplay's most recent work, but it's all better than Keane.]
Kellen's post reminded me of a paper I wrote on the second edition of Barth's Der Romerbrief, where I discussed Barth's relationship with the biblical critics of his day. Perhaps instead of a rejection of the critics of our day, a recognition of the benefits and limits of criticism would be more helpful:
The lack of critical apparatus or technical analysis [in Barth's commentary on Romans] brought forth a chorus of complaint (e.g. Jülicher, Bultmann, Schlatter, etc.) that Barth had traded the wisdom of the historical-critical method for the folly of pre-critical exegesis. Barth replied that such a criticism is "nervous and high-strung" and rejected his label as an 'enemy of historical criticism.' Whether or not Barth convinced his critics, he consistently maintained that he did not dismiss the historical criticism like some conservative scholars had attempted to do. Rather, he wrote, "I have nothing whatever to say against historical criticism. I recognize it, and once more state quite definitely that it is both necessary and justified." Barth saw himself, not drawing back from historical criticism, but pushing beyond or through it. "When, however, I examine their attempts at genuine understanding and interpretation, I am again and again surprised how little they even claim for their work." McCormack notes that Marquardt advanced the thesis that Barth’s political activity, and not his difficulty in preaching from a historical critical methodology, was the cause of his rejection of the method. Whether or not Marquardt is followed, one can easily understand the difficulty of preaching from an academic commentary of the period. Barth’s problem with the New Testament guild is that they describe the text but do not say anything. "But, when all is done, they still remain largely unintelligible."================
 Karl Barth, Epistle to the Romans (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), 6.
 Barth, 6.
 Barth, 7.
 Bruce McCormack, Karl Barth’s Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology (New York: Oxford, 1997), 26.
 Barth, 7.