Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Whimsical Barth: Some Excerpts

A Late Friendship: The Letters of Karl Barth and Carl Zuckmayer (Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982).

Barth’s self-description in his first letter to Zuckmayer:
“I am an Evangelical theologian, a pastor in Geneva and the Aargau for twelve years, then a professor for fifteen years in Göttingen, Münster, and Bonn, where I became unacceptable because I would not take the oath of loyalty to Hitler in 1935, and from then until 1962 a professor here in Basel. I have written many stout and slim volumes of practical, historical, and above all—do not be alarmed!—dogmatic theology. I now live in quiet but busy retirement. I value the presence of loving women, good wine, and a constantly burning pipe.” (4)
Barth on Schleiermacher during his final seminar on the figure:
“Schleiermacher:…I am dealing with him in a seminar with many boy and girl students and for the moment I am enjoying it (with the old love/hate and the even older hate/love).” (43)
Barth on certain interesting individuals:
“I have all kinds of things to report. For instance, a very orthodox group of Roman Catholic vicars invited me for the second time to a lively hour-long conference. Again, we had a visit from a crazy woman from St. Gall who thought she was the woman of Rev. 12 and a reincarnation of Mary. Again, an immature theological student from Canada came to see me this morning and asked—among other things—what reason means for my theology. Answer: I use it!” (43)
Zuckmayer on American parenting:
“If one has lived in America and seen in countless cases what injustice is done to children, one has enough of it. One sees too much that someone, hidden behind misunderstood psychoanalytical maxims, allows them to become little tyrants and ill-humored despots, despots whom adults crawl in front of for pure convenience, only to get peace; and one sees how this takes effect in the unfortunate adolescents when they, brought up without authority, are confronted with the difficulties of life.” (47)

6 comments:

Pistol Pete said...

Great stuff. That's wild that we would both be posting Barth quotes on the same day. What are the odds?

WTM said...

Thanks for dropping by, Pete. The odds aren't really that bad since I post about Barth quite a lot!

Bobby Grow said...

Travis,

Thanks for sharing these, very insightful indeed. I've come to appreciate Barth in large part because of you, Halden, David, and others. "The Cambridge Companion To Karl Barth" was most helpful as well. One of my favorite chapters was McCormack's on Barth's perspective on election.

WTM said...

Bobby,

I'm glad to hear that I have had a part in fueling your growing (and I hope continually so) interest in Barth.

You may not be aware, but McCormack's chapter has sparked quite a debate within Barth circles over the past couple of years, a debate which shows no signs of stopping in the near future. Some of us have taken to calling it "The Companion Debate." In any case, I thought I would mention it just so that you would be aware.

Kellen said...

"...loving women"??

hmmm.

Cynthia R. Nielsen said...

Travis, these are great--thanks for posting them.

Best wishes,
Cynthia