karl Barth on John Calvin

According to church historian Timothy George, Barth could not let go of Calvin.  Barth wrestled with Calvin day and night: “More than once what I presented at 7 a.m. was not ready until 3-5 a.m.”
Barth continues,

Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately.  What I receive is only a thin little stream and what I can then give out again is only a yet thinner extract of this little stream.  I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life just with Calvin.”  (quoted in Theology of the Reformers, pp. 171-2, rev. ed)

Such was Karl Barth’s extraordinary estimation of Calvin and his works.  He even wrote The Theology of John Calvin (which I’ll like to read someday).  At any rate, I’m neither a Calvin scholar not a Barth scholar, but I thought the above worth sharing.

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2 Responses to karl Barth on John Calvin

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    Describing him as a “demonic power” is an interesting choice of words.

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