Karl Barth on John Calvin

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

I feel very much the same way as Karl Barth. I might take issue with “demonic power” language, and the idea of “mythological,” but his thrust, and especially the last sentence, I embrace.

“Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from the Himalayas, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately…. I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life just with Calvin.”

—Karl Barth to Eduard Thurneysen, 8 June 1922; in Revolutionary Theology in the Making: Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence, 1914-1925 (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1964), p. 101.

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