The most influential opponent to the kind of commentary critiqued in the previous post is Karl Barth. In the Römerbrief Barth critiqued historical criticism’s failure to serve the preacher. He advocated moving beyond historical critical study in order to understand what God is saying to Christians in the present day. This demanded the commentator understand the theological import of the text. Barth also insisted that each part of the Bible be interpreted in light of the whole.
Though Barth’s polemics against liberalism made him unpopular among many liberals in his day and in the decades that followed, the influence of postmodernity on theology led to a revival in interest in Barth. For some Barth is attractive because he provides theologians with a way of addressing the problems of modernism without entirely abandoning their liberal presuppositions or theology. (For the view that Barth’s theology, despite its critique of liberalism, remained liberal theology see Gary Dorrien, The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion (Louisville: WJK, 2001), xxi.)