With the death of Karl Barth in 1968, the last word on Christian dogmatics seemed to have been spoken. The 14 volume Kirchliche Dogmatik Barth left behind led Pope Pius XII to call Barth "the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas" and cast a massive shadow on all subsequent attempts at constructing works of a similar nature.
The tradition of creating a systematic presentation of Christian thought goes all the way back to Lucius Lactantius' (d. ca. 320) Divine Institutions, and was further developed in John of Damascus' Concerning the Orthodox Faith, Peter Lombard's Sentences, and Aquinas' Summa Theologica. The Divine Institutions of Lactantius were printed repeatedly at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century, perhaps creating impetus for Philip Melanchthon's Common Places, and John Calvin's own Institutes of the Christian Religion.
The 17th Century saw a blossoming of such endeavors, not only among Lutherans, and the Reformed, but also among Roman Catholic, Byzantine and Jewish theologians, all of whom labored to create extensive works presenting what they believed in a systematic fashion. Subsequent works in the following centuries did not improve on their industry, and were therefore based primarily on those 17th century efforts. Barth, in developing his Church Dogmatics also in apparent dialog with the works of the 17th century, seemed to be the definitive and final word.
Yet the world has changed, dramatically, even since 1968, and with that change, questions that even Barth could not have imagined, have arisen. But was Barth right to begin with? Is there another direction that could be taken?