It is the argument of this thesis that Barth's theology can be properly understood only if it is construed
as an attempted resolution of the metatheological dilemma Franz Overbeck set for theology. To that extent, the
definitive parameters of the problematic which Barth's theology made its own, the underlying historical dynamic
without which the identity of Barth's theology would remain hidden, have no historical precedent other than the
later stages of the Enlightenment and Hume and Kant. Though Overbeck was separated from Hume by more than
a century, he pushed the metatheological dilemma implicit in Hume to its explicit logical conclusion.
It can be shown that not only is it the case Overbeck's metatheological dilemma informs Romans II, it
is the final horizon for Fides Quaerens Intellectum and the Church Dogmatics. Indeed, it is clear that Barth's
answer to Overbeck - sui generis theological truth - is already implicit in Barth's theological development as early
as his lecture "The Strange New World Within the Bible". Barth's encounter with Overbeck is responsible for
the one thing missing from "The Strange New World Within the Bible" - the dialectical irony ever present in
Barth's theology from Romans II onwards.
The later and earlier philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein is the unifying metanarrative uncovering the
specific means by which Barth attempted to achieve his objectives. Both the early and later philosophy contend
with a metadilemma, Hume's metaphilosophical dilemma. Romans II is best understood if it is assimilated into
the tradition of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus represented by key figures of "Wittgenstein's Vienna" - Karl
Kraus, Arnold Schoenberg and Adolf Loos. Without retracting one whit the central insights of Romans II, Anselm:
Fides Quaerens Intellectum and the Church Dogmatics recapitulate the later Wittgenstein's attack on
epistemological realism, a doctrine antithetical to the resolution of the metatheological dilemma.
A final chapter sets Barth's doctrine of the Holy Spirit within the context of Barth's commitment to sui
generis theology, showing in particular that Barth repudiated a realist hermeneutic, and, as a corollary of his
whole position, subordinated meaning to (sui generis) truth.