Barth wants to go through the text, to the reality, that the text becomes a transparency, that the walls that separate the reader are dissolved, and one then begins to confront the reality itself.”1This was his point of difference with Hans Frei, who was also present at the colloquium. In contrast to pure narrative referentiality, Childs believes
One has to keep in mind that the early church, in the controversy with Judaism, took a quite different move. Where the Jews were saying, read the text! read the text!, the Christians said, there's something behind the text. It's what the text points to, namely: Jesus Christ. And there was a dialectic between the reality and the text.”2In a later re-working of the same presentation, Childs notes with admiration how Barth's exbegesis was compatible “with the whole Christian tradition,” that there is a certain “family resemblance.”3
This final term became a key phrase in his look at the history of Christian interpretation of Isaiah.
We will see how this works itself out exegetically in the posts to come.
1Childs, “Karl Barth,” 34.
2Childs, “Karl Barth,” 56.
3Childs, “Karl Barth: The Preacher's Exegete,” unpublished lecture at Yale, 1969 (Thanks to Daniel Driver for providing me with a copy of this paper. He himself received a copy from Christopher Seitz). Childs' last publication before his death, Struggle, makes this phrase and reality programmatic.