The ontological determination of humanity is grounded in the fact that one man among all others is the man Jesus. So long as we select any other starting point for our study, we shall reach only the phenomena of the human. We are condemned to abstractions so long as our attention is riveted as it were on other men, or rather on man in general, as if we could learn about real man from a study of man in general, and in abstraction from the fact that one man among all others is the man Jesus. In this case we miss the one Archimedean point given us beyond humanity, and therefore the one possibility of discovering the ontological determination of man. Theological anthropology has no choice in this matter. It is not yet or no longer theological anthropology if it tries to answer the question of the true being of man from any other angle (Church Dogmatics, III/2, 132-33).
Barth is such a great example of the twentieth century shift in theological anthropology from the doctrine of creation to Christology. Later Pannenberg would propose an eschatological orientation, then Zizioulous and others would retrieve from the church fathers a home in the doctrine of the Trinity. Honestly, when I read Barth I find him so incredibly persuasive (darn him), but I still have misgivings about this move. Anyone want to comment on Barth’s move to dogmatically order anthropology in the doctrine of Christ?