Karl Barth, the son of a minister of the Swiss Reformed Church, was born in Basle on 10th May, 1886. He studied theology in Berlin, Tubinggen and Marburg. In 1913 Barth married Nelly Hoffman and over the next few years the couple had five children. In 1919 Barth published Epistle to the Romans.
Barth became professor of theology at Gottingen (1921-25) and Munster (1925-30). In 1930 he was appointed professor at theology at Bonn University. While in Germany he joined forces with Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoffer to establish what became known as the Confessional Church.
A committed socialist, Barth was the leading figure behind the Barmen Declaration in 1934. This statement explained why Christians should oppose the policies of the Nazi Party. Barth lost his post at Bonn University when he refused to take an unconditional oath to Adolf Hitler. He now returned to Switzerland and in 1935 became professor of theology at Bonn University.
Books by Barth include The Word of God and the Word of Man (1924), Credo (1935), Knowledge of God and the Service of God (1938), Evangelical Theology (1962) and several volumes of Church Dogmatics (1932-67).
Karl Barth died on 10th December 1968.