15 oktober 2013

#164. Om Barth och olikheter...

"In the summer vacation of 1949 he considered for a time wether it might not be the time and place to give a critical lecture on 'Barmen or the Augsburg Confession'. In it he would have liked to have spoken to a German audience about the German church situation, which was causing him growing concern. He saw that the Lutherans there were attaching ever increasing importance to the Augsburg Confession. He had been becoming more and more suspicious of this confession during the summer semester in his seminar (parallel to this he was studying Wolleb's Ethics in his discussion group). It now seemed to him to be a 'deficiant product…It really needs a wooden forehead and a brain to match to want to convince oneself and others that this is the rock on which today's church has to be built.' But the lecture in which this was to be said was never given.

Still, Barth confided these thoughts and hesitations to Ernst Wolf and Georg Merz during a holiday at the Bergli. He found that Wolf understood, but not Merz. 'I have never shaken my head so vigorously over him, and I have never liked him so much as during the days that we spent with him there. For me he is one of the most impressive examples of the way in which friendship between people means being attracted by them, attacking them with all one's power, not being surprised that in the last resort they cannot be changed, and nevertheless still allowing oneself to be involved with them.' […]

However, during the summer holidays of 1949 he did write another lecture which was to be given on an unusual occasion. At the end of August  Barth went to the 'Recontres Internationales de Genève', where he spent ten days in the public discussions on the theme 'Pour un nouvel humanisme'. Along with the French Dominican A. J. Maydieu, he represented 'Christianity…among all kinds of intellectual children of this world'. He himself contributed a lecture on 'The Actuality of the Christian Message' to this meeting.

'The philosophers and historians, orientalists and scientists, theologians and Marxists from all over Europe who were gathered there, not only before the same public but also really round the same table – each coming from his own particular place – spoke together openly and clearly, but also with commitment and at least sometimes with a degree of humour.'

In the discussions Barth got on particularly well with Maydieu, who had already been a good and valued Catholic friend for a number of years. 'My Catholic neighbour and I were strikingly agreed that we should not put forward a "Christian humanism" to counter the ideas advanced by the other participants.'"

  • Busch, Eberhard, 1976: Karl Barth, His life from letters and autobiographical texts. Eugene, Wipf and Stock Publishers. Utg. på tyska av Theologischer Verlag Zürich 1975. S. 365-366

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